I know I talked to my children when they were little. I was a "stay at home" Mama so I know I spent a lot of time with my little ones. I'm sure the oldest got in depth details or answers when he asked a question but once his brother came along I'm not sure. My answers might have shortened up a bit while trying to race down a toddler while a four year old fired one question after another at me.
Having a four year old around every weekend when you are much, much older is interesting, exhausting, funny, silly and just delightful. When people say, having a little person around keeps you young I think what they might really mean is that it gives you a chance to be silly. To let that inner child out. Which really when you think about it isn't that far away from being out all the time as we approach our grand old ages.
We have rituals now for the weekend. We all go out for "hot, hot coffee" every Saturday morning. The double hot because when she was little I would warn her away from my cup because it was HOT, HOT. Having once given my oldest a small splash burn, with a cup a HOT coffee, while holding him on my lap I'm over sensitive to small children and hot liquids.
We take the back roads past the horse farms, slow down, roll down the windows and all three of us neighhhhhhhhhhhh good morning to the horses. In winter we discuss the rolled hay bales, left in the field that have a dusting of snow on them and look a lot like giant frosted shredded wheat.
I wasn't in the car, at the time but the gossip from the four year old is that Grandpa stopped the car, ran out in the field and licked the top to see if it was sugar or snow. No one will confess to this but I'm sure it probably happened as told.
We decide going up the hill whether we will go straight past the Pot Lady and say good morning or will we go down the bumpy road. Riley gets to pick and she takes it seriously.
The bumpy road is just that, a back road that must be in debate between two townships because nobody wants to mend it.
It provides us with a chance to be really silly. From the back seat we hear hu,hu,hu, hu as Riley makes bumping noises. From the front seat a slow deep start to the Heigh Ho Silver song from Grammy and Grandpa. We are loud. We are energetic. We are off key and at the MOMENT that the bumpy road turns into a Smooooooooooooooooth road we stop singing and all of us say SMOOOOOOOOOOOOTH.
Ok, maybe you have to be there. It makes us all grin and Riley's eyes sparkle. It's something we always do.
I often wonder if when she is an adult and we are long gone and she's driving along some day with her kids and hits a bumpy road or hears Heigh Ho Silver on the car radio will she remember. I hope so.
"What's the point?" you say as you refill your coffee.
Hardly anything in our daily lives allows us to be silly and childlike. If we are we are considered "odd", "damaged", or socially unacceptable. As a group we enjoy watching the different, the out of the ordinary like a flash dance where we least expect it but most of us would hesitate to join in or start our own flash dance in the middle of the mall.
Just walking through a store or mall or down the street smiling makes many people uncomfortable. City people are taught not to have eye contact let alone smile back at someone. I still have my SMILE ALL DAY, once a week feat.
Some days that I pick it's tough. I can smile but I have to remove any expectations of a smile back from my thoughts.
This is MY deal.
My reward is feeling good. Sending out some positive energy into the space around me. I have to train my mind not to make any judgement calls about reactions. A smile back is good energy. Confusion and frustration and sometimes anger is what it is and NOT MY ISSUE. I'm a human being that can smile. When I do I feel different. I feel better. I feel happy. Some days I'm delighted (even though I'm not supposed to process these reactions) when people respond in a positive way.
Being childlike, silly, simple uncomplicated is easier when you have a child actually holding your hand. People will accept and "excuse" your behavior because of the child.
That's a tad sad.
Because I think we forget how to be a child when we aren't around them. We begin to take ourselves too seriously. We take the world around us too seriously.
And, yes, there are serious issues out there. There were serious issues before you and I and trust me when I say there will be more after we are dead and gone.
I once had a meditation teacher that would remind us that no matter what human do to each other or to the planet that long, LOOOOOOOOONG after humans are gone the planet will still be. Not an excuse to abuse it but we are just the fleas on the dogs back.
So, when you come upon a sunflower, holding the hand of a four year old and you explain in great detail how the head of the flower moves to follow the sun........... sit down on the grass and think for a minute when the child asks you, "But where are their turners?"
The first time Riley heard the voice of the GPS woman she gasped, "HOW DID SHE KNOW THAT? AND WHERE IS SHE?"
She is now sure that the woman lives in the little box that Grandpa clips to the windshield. This woman knows where we live and how to get us home. She even tells us when we turn that we are now at HOME. HOW DOES SHE KNOW THAT?
Grammybea has no logical or scientific answers for her. But the ones she comes up with are far more creative and silly.
I know for a fact the first time we plugged in the GPS in the car neither John or I wondered where the voice came from.
We accepted it, moved on and not one creative though came out of a discussion about the "voice's" living conditions.
Our Lady In The Box now resides in the third dog house that Riley and Grandpa built for Murphy. The first doghouse having been taken over by a rather large family of Rabbits. The second doghouse they built was taken over by a rather large Mama Raccoon who blocked the doorway with her big hips and waved a wooden spoon at Murphy to keep him away. The third doghouse, plastered with KEEP OUT BUNNIES and KEEP OUT RACCOONS and MURPHY'S HOUSE stood empty for a very short time. Riley felt that The Lady In The Box needed a place to sleep when she wasn't driving us around.
Little children keep us young. They keep us active. They keep us using our creative juices. Because when they aren't around we forget how to be childlike. We forget to look at the world through a child's eyes. We forget to appreciate the very simple things and acts that as adults we take for granted.
It's not lost. We can start today looking at the world as if we were children. We can smile at strangers. We can remember that the world isn't really always that thing we have to just get through, around, by without touching it.
So, put down your coffee cup and lay down here in the grass next to us. Look at those beautiful clouds.
Now, you tell me, where are the turners in the sunflowers?