I like to write about the time I spend with my grandson Liam, because it is he right now that wants to spend time with me. It isn’t that my other 4 grandchildren do not love me or I them, but 3 seem to have out grown the need to be around me and would rather be on the computer, watch television, or be somewhere else with their friends and my youngest granddaughter is just a baby and sleeps most of the time. It was not that long ago that I took my oldest grandchildren to the park to play on the swings and ride the merry-go-round, but now they play baseball and basketball on the days I used to get as visit and I can understand that, but Liam at 3, years old just loves to play with his favorite toy, his Grandpa, or just likes to have me around to watch him play and so it was when I took them him to the park.
Well this day in the park started the same way as usual, Liam and I walked the 7 or so blocks to the park with me hollering at Liam to stop at every intersection and wait for Grandpa and him laughing and looking at me like okay, but hurry it up please Grandpa. Liam does not like to hold my hand when crossing the street, because he thinks that he is a big boy now that he does not wear a diaper so the closer we get to the park the harder it becomes to restrain the little bum. When Liam could finally see the park and we crossed the last intersection he was off and running through the gate and bounding through the park towards his favorite slide. It is the largest one in the park and requires balance, hand to eye and body coordination just to get up some of the more difficult steps, ladders and various other hair greying ways for parents to watch their youngsters attempt to get onto this very large very tall slide. I know that this slide has been the cause of many a held breaths of parents and family members trying not to be over protective of the children and let them play freely. I held my breath, as Liam chose the most difficult way up for his age and size and got stuck near the top, when it came time to put his foot on the platform. Liam was over 7 feet in the air and I ran to help and as just as I got there out of breath he somehow managed to pull himself onto then platform and tell me not to help him, he could do it all by himself. Liam struggled with every way onto that slide and finally mastered how to get from one obstacle to another that joined 3 big slides into one with enough ease that I was able to breath normally for a while and I was able to relax and take some pictures.
Now the sandbox is always a nice relaxing time for the parents as long as you have the right toys for your child to play with, like a pail and something to dig with. If you forget to bring them like I did your very resourceful child will take them off of another child like my Liam did. Thankfully the child had many toys and his grandmother a little frail Italian lady who could not speak a word of English or French motioned to him with her hands and put a pail and a shovel in his hands and he and I knew it was okay for him to use the shovel and pail. I was relieved and Liam was overjoyed. When we left the sandbox I made sure Liam gave back the borrowed toys, but when the Lady took Liam’s head in her hands I thought to myself oh no here we go, but Liam stretched up on his tippy toes and kissed her on the cheek and said thank you. I was beaming with pride, the lady was smiling from ear to ear and |Liam walked away like it was the most natural thing for him to do in the world.
The next place Liam explored was a yellow school bus that rests on springs, has seats inside and two steering wheels. It is another part of the park for parents to catch their breath and relax a minute. I knew that Liam would not remain here long. Liam played for 2 minutes on the bus even less on the little bugs on springs, before he decided to try the only thing in the park I was really afraid for him to try.
Liam is very quick and was half way to the dreaded 13 foot high round sphere that resembled a giant spider web that the children are supposed to climb using the connected ropes to pull themselves up, for foot support and to rest, but if you have ever seen a kitten get stuck in a tree, then you know that it is not getting up that causes the problem, it is getting back down if you can not jump, or you get afraid of the hieght. Liam climbed it, hung upside down from it and repeatedly jumped off it. He was like a little spider, but every time he went higher I thought to myself this is it, he is going to fall, but he just laughed and called out to me that he was the king of the castle. Finally able to take no more on my nerves I coaxed him out of the web with a juice and told him it was time to go have lunch. We returned to the park 2 more times that day and I learned to relax a little and enjoy the experience even when he went on the more dangerous and more difficult things.
I did get scared for Liam from time to time, but the sound of his laughter and the look of pride as he mastered new challenges was such a joy and a treat to witness that I would not have given it up for anything in the world. Sharing this day with my 3-year-old grandson Liam was a learning experience and when all was said and done we were still the best of friends. Every time we spend quality time together our love for each other is strengthened and we learn more and more about each other. Even more important to both of us right now is that we are getting memories that only he and I share that will bond us as Grandpa and Liam best of friends forever.
My spot in the park assigned as to me by Liam is sitting on one of the many benches located throughout the park near the slides and other things. They are in eye sight of the children and are close enough to get to the children quickly should they need help. From these benches the adults get to guard the toys and hand out snacks and refreshments and hold our collective breaths as our children attempt to master the obstacle course, do acrobatic feats that boggle our minds and put on the greatest show on earth.
It is the times like these that I spent one on one with my 2 girls as little ones and then with the oldest of my grandchildren and now with Liam that have shown me the important things in life. In the fight to acquire material wealth I think we have forgotten how to take the time to play, relax and enjoy the little people in our lives. The interaction between adults bathing, playing, talking and yes even changing their diapers and powdering their bums, is free and so important to both the little one and the adult and it doesn’t cost one cent; it is totally free. Taking my children and grandchildren to the park and one on one outings even for just an hour, has given me the opportunity to put someone and something ahead of myself and ahead of the struggle to survive. I get to relax and bond with them; they get to bond with me and learn from me in a fun way and the joy, trust and love that we share is priceless, because the only cost is making the time.
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