Hanging out with the boy.
August 3, 2014 § 7 Comments
The passage of time gives you wrinkles, but if it also gives you grandchildren—even just one—you’ve come out ahead.
Looking for someone to trade information with, joke with, or help you hammer out life’s big questions, someone who appreciates your opinion?
Hang out with a grandchild.
As old people we have acquired wisdom—and the ability to bluff really well.
Grandmon (who is getting tired of stuffed animals named Ducky, Beary, and Gingerbready) to Matthew: “You know, the tags on those animals have their real names on them.”
We check the tags for the real names.
Matthew now has a condor named Jaag Plush, a turkey vulture named Wild Republic, and a fuzzy bear named Burton Burton.
Grandchildren look at the world with fresh eyes, stating things so obvious we have failed to notice them.
Matthew, after a sudden pinch: “Grandmon, you don’t have any boobage.”
Matthew to Granddad: “I have gray hair.” Granddad to Matthew: “No, I have gray hair, you have brown.” Matthew to Granddad: “You have white hair Granddad. I have gray.”
On this visit I taught Matthew:
How to dance the Can-Can.
How to pick up a pinchy beetle without getting pinched.
How to identify a sweet gum tree.
Matthew taught me:
How not to tune a guitar.
Why sweet gums are called sweet gums when he tore off a leaf–and that all trees with pointy leaves should be called sweet gums.
How to play a decent game of tennis in the living room by using my racket like a golf club—in which case it is called miniature golf.
That “wade” is another word for total immersion done slowly.
Granddad taught Matthew:
How fishing spiders lure in prey by waggling a foot in the water.
How to tell time. “Look Matthew, it’s three hairs past a freckle. What time do you have?” Matthew, checking his own bare wrist. “I have five hairs past a freckle, Granddad.” “No way! You better get your watch fixed.”
Matthew taught Granddad:
The importance of vigilant self-defense (Matthew is a stealth pincher).
We traded beliefs (attributions obvious).
Saying “shut up” is bad.
Tooting is good—and always funny.
So is the word “butt.”
We contemplated how things work in the world.
Wandering in the apartment complex parking lot (looking for bugs and waiting for Mommy and Will) I tried to explain why some states require only one license plate, while others require two–it is one of life’s mysteries.
We discussed what the logo on a handicapped parking space means, then checked out the hang-tags in the cars parked in such spaces and considered the dire consequences of parking there without the appropriate tag.
Matthew wanted to wait around until one such car’s owner limped out to the car. He wanted to witness “handicapped” firsthand.
At the playground a mother yelled for another Matthew to “go with Granddad.” Our Matthew watched this other child with a benevolent smile on his face, as if they were members of a secret club. I remembered meeting my first other Adrian and how strange it felt.
For Matthew, the world is new. As his grandparents it is new again. We’ve turned in our warden’s badges and are free to play.
To all of you who are struggling with parenthood, it gets better–even if that improvement comes with a few wrinkles.
One of my favorite past posts chronicles a day Matthew and I spent together called Grandmon and the Beezer.