I like exploring side by side with the grandkids.
I like being there to hear their profound observations and pronouncements. I like when they show me their discoveries and I like pointing things out that they might have missed, in case it catches on. I like hearing their ideas and theories. I like their running conversations with themselves or with me as they process the world, imagining and supposing. I like learning from them.
I like watching them do things that are a little too hard. I like their glow of victory, having conquered the world. I like supporting their daring ventures and ideas. I like being the vehicle that brings them outdoors. I like sharing a love of history or science or physics, love of nature, love of the wild world, love of myth and fantasy, love of the mystery.
I like being there to ease the bloody knee, the wounded pride. I like being a supporter, encourager, confidence provider. I like feeling their hot sweaty hand in mine. I like when they lean against me, spent, thinking their thoughts – what they just did, what they’ll do next, whatever they wonder about, and sometimes getting to hear about it.
I also like watching them from a distance.
I like turning them loose to negotiate it all on their own – alone with their victories, alone with their fantasies, alone with their thoughts. I like allowing them independence to direct their own actions, make their own decisions, in charge of their learning. I like how they pick themselves back up after a fall. I like hearing their shouts over to me and how their voice is torn away by the wind and they are unanswered, left to answer themselves. I like how they can own the world and be strong and courageous. I like that I disappear from their consciousness. I like that they can be alone without being lonely.
I like the quiet that surrounds me, and that I can be alone and with them all at once.
I like to see the world so huge and them so tiny.
I like seeing them surrounded by huge rocks or rushing waters or vast fields, where all the world’s difficulties recede and all that’s left is an upwelling of well being, possibility, hope, peace.