My friends Jon and Renie have a new baby daughter and, judging by her pictures, she is a real cutie. I wandered over to Jon’s desk the other day to congratulate them on their new arrival. Inevitably the conversation turned to the ways in which children change your life forever, which is a pretty good thing if we are smart enough to see it.
I sit writing at a desk in the little man cave I’ve made for myself in the basement of our home and every few days I hear the pitter-patter of little feet on the floor above – the grandkids have arrived. The pitter-patter quickly turns to a stampede as the house is explored for any possible new toys or some refreshment. They know where I am so before long they make their way down and my work is finished whether it’s finished or not.
With your own kids you don’t have the luxury of just watching them — too many responsibilities. With grandkids the burden is off and the chance to simply sit and look at them or better still get down on the floor and play with them usually wins. Hey, I have no responsibility other than to keep them safe, feed them some treats and try to act their age. I do well on all counts.
Some of my best ideas for essays like this came when our kids were the age of our grandkids. See, they have a view of life we left behind long ago: sleep, eat, play, and repeat. They have the basics down to a science. When tired, sleep and when hungry eat and then play until you are tired again. What could be simpler? Unfortunately we complicate the whole thing by getting work involved and fixing a back porch or cutting the lawn. Complications, complications!
So I guess that’s why I have so much fun when the kids come over for it brings back to me just how precious childhood is, how sweet it is, how lovely. It ends, sometimes, sooner than later and then we have only the memory of it, a long forgotten toy found in the back of a closet perhaps or a photo from the back of a dresser drawer. The precious memories of childhood flood in then and if there is a tear shed it isn’t surprising for our childhood was so sweet and lovely was it not.