Spider Threads And Other Small Wonders
I picked up our oldest grandson from Kindergarten yesterday, arriving puffed and a bit anxious because I had made it all the way to the playing field before realizing I had forgotten his helmet.
I am old.
I had just seconds to spare before the TOC led the kids out. She clearly had a handle on the whole hand-over process: kids in a wibbly-wobbly line, one by one pointing out their big person and, one by one, running to meet them.
She only needed coaching on one little thing–the snipping part. You see in that Kindergarten, the kids and the teacher are tied together by in invisible thread that must be snipped at the end of the day. Two teacher-fingers become magic scissors …snip, snip, snip she goes while each little one pauses in expectation of their turn (we can say “their” now…no more awkward his/her stuff), then snip, and then they are free to race off to whomever waits for them.
It turns me inside out to watch it happen. Every time it happens. I hoped his Grandpa was seeing all of this. He would have loved it.
My grandson always waves and calls to me while he waits his turn. His smile when he sees me is another thing that turns me inside out. Every time it happens. He was wearing bibbed rain pants under his parka and had obviously forgotten to pull the straps over his shoulders. It took me a moment, post-snip, to realize what was going on, why he was waddling, his stride widening, widening… sideways. I caught up to him just as the pants collapsed around his ankles.
Over or under your coat? I asked as I helped him yank them up.
They can go over?
Sure, I said.
Cool. Over, please.
He had to wheel his bike on the busy school ground walkways but the minute we got to the field he launched himself over the hill and along the dirt path that leads through the park to the big public playground. He knows when and where to wait for me, how to park his bike and by the time I caught up to him, he was on top of the monkey bars. Wet, cold monkey bars. Slippery, wet, cold monkey bars. I had to bite my tongue as he tested grip and balance and how far an arm or a leg would stretch.
Pea gravel, I told myself (adding pea gravel to my gratitude inventory). They usually survive falls onto pea gravel.
Then, a final jump from far too high for the size of him but such a perfect, graceful landing. Before he could walk, he could climb. He loves to perch in high places. He loves to leap from high places.
Nice, I said. You nailed that landing.
Your hands must be freezing, I said, reaching to warm them in mine.
That’s when I noticed the nail polish on each tiny finger nail. Pink to match the jewel in the ring he wore on one finger.
Wow. Beautiful, I said.
I don’t think anyone has ever told him, “Boys don’t” or “Girls can’t”, not anyone important to him, anyway.
Later, at my house, after two games of ZINGO, we got out the face-paints. They’re new and we love them. Last visit, he wanted to be a snake. Thanks to Pinterest and happily timed medication ( for me, to control the tremor), we made that happen to his satisfaction.
Yesterday, I turned him into a cougar. That was a whole lot easier than the snake. He loved how he looked.
Scary! he said.
I took a photo and sent it to his mom and her sister. I meant to type “cougar cub” but somehow it wound up “cigarcub”. When I read that to him, he laughed and laughed. There is not a better sound in the world than my grandkids’ laughter. I hoped his grandpa was hearing it. He would have loved that, too.