47. Tunnel of Love

47. Tunnel of Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Tunnel of Love

When a child is born, so are grandmothers.

~Judith Levy

“Levi, go get your daddy!” I implored my three-year-old grandson. Off he ran, his tiny bare feet slapping the wood floor. I cringed a bit as I heard him holler to my son-in-law: “Grandma ’tuck!” I squirmed a bit as I listened to Johnny’s approaching footsteps, and forced a smile as Levi came back into view. He pointed a tiny finger at me.

Grandma was indeed stuck. It was completely my own fault. Levi and I had been engaged in a jolly game of hide-and-seek. We’d taken turns hiding. He was always easy to find. He’d cover his head with a corner of the rug and consider himself well hidden. Or he’d wriggle under his bed, leaving his toes vulnerable to a tickling when I’d find him. I have my usual places to hide: behind the shower curtain, the couch or the laundry room door. But today I had spotted a new place to try! Levi had a springy play tunnel that he loved to crawl through. My good judgment took a temporary break as I slithered into it like a snake. My upper body fit well; it was my mid-section that met resistance. Somehow, I was able to wriggle most of myself in and patiently waited for Levi to find me.

It didn’t take him long since it was a 5’ tunnel and I’m a 5’4” grandma. He giggled with excitement, shouting, “I found you!” I laughed with him and declared him a clever boy, indeed. It was time to exit, so I began to wiggle my way forward. I advanced an inch or two but my hips seemed to be wedged. I decided to back out. I put more vigor into my wiggle, twisting with all my might. Levi sat down cross-legged to watch the show.

I could not get out. Since I had entered face first and worm-like, my arms were trapped at my sides. Red-faced and damp with exertion, it was then that I had sent Levi for help.

At first, Johnny stood speechless. What do you say to a pair of adult feet sticking out of a child’s toy? He walked around to the other end and peered in. I could clearly see the smirk that he was trying to hide.

“Don’t ask questions; just help me out!” I said.

What followed was probably the most comical fifteen minutes of my life. Since he couldn’t pull or push me, he somehow managed to get both the tunnel and me into a standing position. That part is a blur. I do remember chanting a prayer. From that point, he slowly eased the tunnel down the length of my body, folding the spring downward until I was finally able to step out. Levi clapped as I hugged my hero.

With middle age, my shape transformed from a French fry to the whole potato.

This event probably would have never happened if it weren’t for my ample waistline. My athletic, slender daughter would have shimmied out of that tunnel in seconds. And twenty years ago, I would have, too. With middle age, my shape transformed from a French fry to the whole potato. I fought against this shift at first. But trying different exercises and diets didn’t work for me. Worrying about my clothing size was making me unhappy. Life is too short to be sad!

One day when Levi was an infant, I sat in the rocking chair with him. He was snuggled up and sound asleep, his body resting cozily on my stomach. “I guess you like my mattress,” I whispered, stroking his hair. My attitude began to change a bit toward my “curves.”

As Levi grew, I adored playing with him. I learned which slides at the park I fit on, and we “whooshed” down together. I could fit through the door of his playhouse, and accepted each invitation inside. I learned which little chairs I could sit on without snapping them to bits like Goldilocks.

I was a large playmate, but I was always eager and available. Together, Levi and I make memories. I want him to remember his Grandma as a happy, smiling friend.

I may be a sphere instead of a cylinder, but there’s more room for joy inside me. I’m as soft as a teddy bear and enjoy many loving squeezes. We share plenty of adventures and I hope he remembers each one, even the day I got ’tuck!

~Marianne Fosnow

More stories from our partners