I saw this door while wondering the streets of Bonnieux France. There were no words surrounding the door, those are mine, but they are true, none the less.
The birth of our first great-grandbaby has me thinking a lot about child development. It’s been a long while since Kathryn was a child, and a long time since our grand one was a child too. Since we moved out of the old school we owned — the one next to the local elementary school and all the kids on the playground there haven’t been huge numbers of little ones in our life and it’s easy to forget how exciting growth and development really are.
Our granddaughter has an account on a APP called Tiny Beans. It’s a place for parents / grand parents to share photos of their kids in a private environment. As a result see pictures of our great-grand-one every couple days even though we are 350 miles away. How great is that! We were a little worried that with her so far away it would be hard to keep in touch with her progress. It’s not the same as being there in person, but it beats nothing at all.
The past four-ish months have been fun watching the parents adjust to a new role. And that has been fun too, but nothing compared to the newness that everyday brings to a newborn. The world is all new, and they are a sponge.
That phrase above,
There is always one moment in childhood…
…when the door opens and lets the future in.
was true in my life. It’s not a time I talk about per se. Some things deserve to be private and reserved to yourself. I sometimes talk around it, without letting on exactly what that moment meant, but I’m never far from that moment.
Some people feel it as a calling, others as inspiration to a profession, for some it’s the mistake of taking a gateway drug, or perhaps the first thing they shoplifted. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to be bad — but it seems that if we look into ourselves hard enough we’ll find it and recognize the pivotal point in life.
I’ve always been pretty self-directed. It’s hard for me to understand how people cope who are not; who need the input of others for decisions at life’s turning points. We’re just different people. I know that. I don’t think that they are any different than I as regards that “one moment”. Those who are not self-aware may not think about it, but I’ll bet it’s there.
I wonder what our great grand baby will be like as she grows. There are these transformative and developmental years to come, but at some point she’ll break out of the pattern that parents and others have made for her and she’ll express her self in a new way, a way no one ever expected, and she’ll truly be her own self. I hope I’m still around when that happens. It’s hard to be yourself. It’s hard to stand up against the popular viewpoint. Heaven knows that we are seeing that played out on the political stage every day. Good men and women have sold themselves and their integrity to please a manipulative self-obsessed leader — and they think they are doing something good — and do not realize that history will judge them far more harshly than they ever imagined. When I see such things as that I am reminded how important it is to be your own person, to have values you treasure and that you are willing to stand up for. I think back on past battles — as most of my battling days are probably over — and there are still the scars — mostly hidden in my case that came from not surrendering.
The whole world will look very different by the time our little great grand one is “all grown up.” I look back at my own life and I realize now how much things have changed since we were young and dumb and newly married. The world is so much more populous than it was then. You could go places that today are jammed with people and back then you had the place to yourself. I wonder how she will feel about the way we humans have treated our planet, or how she will find the wild places that her mom and dad so love now. I can’t begin to imagine what those changes will be, but I suspect that they will not be as pleasant as some of the things we have enjoyed. If science is right about our stewardship of the earth, life may be far more difficult for her than for us.
There is nothing I can do about any of that. Chances are that even though I have no plan on checking out of life here, by statistical standards I probably won’t be around to see her when she’s fully in her prime, at the peak of her career, whatever she chooses to do. I can bear that. That’s life. We all know we are limited editions and we all have our own sell-by-date. But that does not mean that I don’t want to do everything I can as long as I’m around to help her along the way.
But that’s a problem, isn’t it. Because what I might want for her may not be what she chooses for herself. And I hope that I respect the moment in childhood that will open the door to her future and send her down the pathway she’s meant to follow.