Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Greatest Thing in the World

Did you know that ONE granddaughter equals three grandsons? At least that is the opinion of ONE grandfather. I’m not sure about that equality thing. But the granddaughter can run circles around those three boys. She is only four and two of the boys are eight and the other one eleven, but they would have to get up pretty early in the morning to get into as much mischief as this little girl.

Boys like mud and geckos, lizards, and big slobbery dogs. Little girls like containers of “things” that tickle their fancy. It might be just some old wooden blocks or even older wooden thread spools, but little girls can invent castles and kitchens out of just about anything. And old ceramic kittens and puppies are MUCH better than the real things. However, at least one little girl we know has fallen in love with a granddaddy’s tractor that has a horn and a bucket that lifts up and down. She isn’t the least bit mechanical, but she can make the horn beep and the lever on the tractor moves that bucket for her just as well as it does for someone who knows what he is doing.

Our little granddaughter likes having the boys around part of the time, but she really prefers to have the adults to herself. The boys are noisy, dirty, and well…they are just boys. They can’t walk through a room. They are an event moving through the house. They are a noise looking for a place to happen. Not our little girl. She is questions and opinions, curiosity and delight, more questions and a few requests for our attention. If she plays with her Leapster, she wants someone to watch her and give her cheers when she does something special—or even just sit next to her.

A day will come when all our mud daubers and our Miss Queen Bee will grow up, but right now they are so much fun to watch growing up. We can look back now at the days when their parents and their uncle were little and remember how much fun we had back then too. One child was Mr. Responsibility and was so obedient and sweet that we would have thought we were the perfect parents if we had stopped right there. Then Miss Kinetic Energy was born and our lives were never the same again. We didn’t know that a butterfly and a hummingbird were so similar until we raised our daughter—she was part of each of those with a beautiful smile thrown in for good measure. THEN we chose to have one more child. By the time this one was four, he was already a teenager—or thought he was. Little League—again—Scouts, ski trips to Colorado, a job at the Humane Society, friends in California—and then he was gone from home.

Some people mention the “empty nest syndrome” and softly sigh. For us the nest had been dumped repeatedly through these three children. It was time to gather our flying feathers and help them move from place to place and see them through the first few years “on their own.”

We wonder now if we will be around to see these three boys and this beautiful little girl out of their nests. And we wonder if they will still come and stay with us for a week after they get old enough that mud and blocks no longer hold any wonder for them. I suspect that they will always hold a wonder for us—these reminders of three wonderful children.