Today is my granddaughter Kelly’s first birthday. A year ago, in the very small hours, her dad phoned to say she’d just been born. And I didn’t really sleep afterwards (and in truth, I hadn’t slept since his first call, to say that he and Cristen were at the hospital and that labour was well-underway…). I kept thinking of how a baby had entered our lives at a time when we were entirely ready for the pleasure and privilege of grandparenthood. We packed our bags in order to drive as quickly as possible to Edmonton to meet the baby, arranging to leave the morning after Kelly’s birth. And we spent her birthday watering, making sure that the garden would survive our high summer absence. We went to Francis Point for a swim and I gathered some shells to string on a small piece of driftwood. It seemed important to commemorate the day somehow. So every time I hear the shells in the wind, I think of that little girl. We won’t see her today, except on Skype, but we were in Edmonton a few weeks ago, and Kelly will be travelling with her parents to spend some time with us the week after next. Her aunts and uncles will be here too and I think there might be a cake waiting. With one candle, to eat at the table under her shells.