“It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you.” It’s a line from a John Denver song from the 70s. A love song. That line represents now a different kind of love song. One for Connor. It started the day we met, the day he was born.
He’s been coming to spend the day since he was about a year old. Almost four years of fascination. Watching him learn: to crawl, walk, talk. Play with trains and Lego. Colours, letters and printing his name. When did he learn the whole ABC song? Endless questions. Why? What does that mean? When? How do you do that? Can I try? Can we go to the beach? Will you play with me? Where does that come from? How is it made? Can we bake? Can I do it? Can I?
The intensity on the small face as he attempts something brand new. Stirring, mixing, stacking, cutting with scissors, chopping fruit with his own special knife. The joy of digging in sand and dirt. Planting things and waiting for them to grow and then picking and eating them. Cutting flowers for his Mama – she won’t mind 1″ stems will she? (We’ve had a lot of roses that had to float in bowls.)
Making cookies and pancakes and biscuits. Muffins, fruit salads and gnocchi. He knows where everything in the house is and when we moved he helped unpack. I am sure I will find it all one day. Picnics on the floor, on the grass, on the deck.
I tell myself that being a glorified Lego Assistant (sorting and searching for parts being my allotted tasks) is keeping my brain active. Lego is better than crossword puzzles isn’t it? But the best part is the ongoing talking and questioning and planning. Or sometimes we don’t have to talk. He just wants company. And when he isn’t talking he sings to himself.
Sometimes he doesn’t listen and we have to have words. He is allowed sleepovers now. So there was the time he was up for 2 hours in the night waiting for morning so he could play with his new dinosaur Lego.
After that experience his parents bought us one of those magic clocks that’s set to turn green when it is time to get up. It works fine but the first morning we had it he came to get me. He told me we weren’t allowed to get up yet but if I didn’t mind he had a few questions and we could talk until it was time. “C’mon Grandma, you can get under my covers and be warm.” (It was so early even he was chilly.)
Am I boring you? Alright, so I am fascinated with watching small children grow and learn. Developmental Psych was at the top of my favourites. Along with language, which is another side of the same coin. It doesn’t do it for everyone but for me this is another chance at the best time of my life.
There is continuity in this, a comfort that feeds my soul. I look at him and see absolute proof that I was here in this world. He has some of his mother, some of his father and his Farmor, and his Grandpa, odd glimpses of aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents and probably someone from the 17th century. (And Spiderman, some hobbits and maybe Buzz Lightyear; there’s “culture” as well as genes.) His hair is his Dad’s. His eyes are his mother’s and now his baby brother’s. The fine motor skill that makes him able at four to do Lego for 12 year olds. Is that all his Dad or is my precious mother-in-law’s talent for detail and precision emerging too? There’s a long list of endearing and sometimes eerie characteristics. Do you see these things in your grandchildren?
But it is true that in spite of getting tired because I am no longer thirty five, and in spite of the need sometimes for “discussions”, since the day my last child left for the first day of school it’s the sweetest thing I know of.
I am still waiting for someone to ask me why the sky is blue though. I looked it up so I would be ready. I sure hope Google is right.