Instead of my usual alarm, I woke up this morning to the timer on the oven. It was closer to the family room sectional where I camped out with two of my granddaughters last night (their brother was smart enough to choose Mimi and Papa’s bed). My achy old body tells me I did not sleep in my ‘selected just for you’ mattress. When given the choice of sleeping in the guest room [made exceptionally dreamy and comfortable just for them] or doing it ‘slumber party’ style in the family room, they made the natural choice. I mean, who doesn’t love a slumber party?
When my daughter asked me if I could watch her three kids [last minute, she forgot she had tickets to an A Cappella group], I was on the tail end of a migraine. I’m always kind of droopy and wiped out after a migraine, so when she told me all three kids were jumping up and down cheering, when I said “sure,” I was wondering where I was going to get a fresh supply of energy to be worthy of their love of ‘Mimi’s house.’ Here is the amazing thing about kids though…they make you (temporarily) forget everything else.
From the minute they burst through the door, their energy transferred onto me. I say burst, because that is indeed how they entered; all three kids had packed suitcases, they had games in hand, and were talking over one another. My daughter pulled up the rear saying, “Mom, I can’t believe you got an i-phone!” That was the statement that created pandemonium. Then the kids were grabbing my phone, showing me a million things I will never remember, but with such enthusiasm it was contagious. At that moment, even I was excited about getting a new phone (but I will still miss my faithful Blackberry)!
We spent about an hour playing with my new phone and i-pad while Papa whipped up his famous spaghetti (actually, I think Ragu made it famous first:). I find it so amazing how much children know about technology. They zip through the apps and screens like they are second nature; while I remain terrified to press any buttons—certain that I will cause some irrevocable harm. After dinner, we ate ice cream and played games. Every time I play games with my grandkids, I wonder why I don’t play more often. I love games! Maybe that is a little bit of Pearly (my mom) in me.
Of course, no slumber party is complete without tons of blankets, pillows, and a good movie: last night, we watched ‘Agent Cody Banks.’ LOVED it! But, as we were getting all set up for our movie, my oldest granddaughter, Charlotte claimed dibs on the khaki colored blanket. She said she always likes to use that blanket because it reminds her of our trip to New York. Susi didn’t argue because the khaki blanket is really kind of ugly.
It really touched me when she said that. You see, we had taken Charlotte and her cousin, Ava Rose, to New York City for an overnight trip a year ago to see their first broadway musical, Matilda. Prior to that trip, I had never been a big fan of NYC. I had always found all of the people just too overwhelming. But, seeing NYC through the eyes of a child—those two girls—was an experience I will never forget. Every unique person and place was fascinating to them, not threatening as I had previously seen them.
The entire trip had a profound impact on me: to completely change the way I viewed something; simply because two little girls taught me to look at it differently, took me by surprise. Although I am always willing to listen to a second opinion about things….well, let’s just say I’ve been called stubborn a few times in my life. It made me so happy to hear that the trip had left such an imprint on Charlotte as well.
I think adults tend to complicate things. We don’t often allow ourselves moments to just be. Children are so good at living in the moment, and loving the moments they live. Adults spend so much time teaching them that we often forget how much they have to teach us as well. Maybe that’s why grandparenting is more relaxed than parenting was. Everyone jokes that it is because we can ‘give them back,’ but I think it is because we already realized the first time around how little we really knew and, when they were grown, how little our knowledge mattered. The only things that have ever mattered and ever will matter are time spent and love expressed.
When the kids were packing up this morning and thanking me for letting them spend the night, I realized that I was actually the lucky one—to begin my day with a soul filled with light.
An adult is one who has lost the grace, the freshness, the innocence of the child, who is no longer capable of feeling pure joy, who make everything complicated….. The wise man is a happy child. Arnold Desjardins