HE BENT LOW, SQUATTING, trying to peer into the pinprick of a hole centering the mound of black dirt.
“Bug. Bug,” my 28-month-old grandson repeated. Three of us circled him—me, Grandpa (whom he calls Buddy) and Sister. In that moment, the anthill focused our attention. In that moment I realized, once again, how much I love being a grandma. How much I love seeing the world through the eyes of Isaac and his five-year-old sister, Isabelle.
This past weekend the pair stayed overnight with us, minus the parents. Randy and I love this special time with our grandchildren. Time to hug and cuddle and read and play. And explore nature.
With warm and sunny weather, we spent much of our weekend outdoors. Blowing bubbles. Playing Posy Pitch. Chalking cement. Climbing playground equipment and pushing swings and running after a little guy who moves incredibly fast.
We enjoyed nature in our yard and those anthills along the sidewalk. Isaac delighted in the ants and then did what seems innate—demolished the hills with his shoes. We never showed him.
Bugs and worms enthralled him when Grandpa/Buddy flipped flat slabs of limestone to expose both. I can’t recall how many times Isaac asked to see those bugs.
He loved the tulips, too, two red and two yellow blooming on the south side of the house. “Match,” he said. He’s big in to matching, just like he’s big in to letters of the alphabet. And he loves the sun and moon, imagining both in our overhead dining room light. At least this visit Isaac didn’t awaken early enough to see the sun and the moon simultaneously as he did during his last overnight stay.
I showed Isaac and Izzy the bird nest I found lying in the grass a few weeks ago, small blue egg still cozied inside the circle of dried grass. They listened, too, to the shrill whistle of a cardinal and heard Grandpa whistle in reply.
When you pause to think like a child, listen like a child, see like a child, the natural world opens wide to awe and new-ness and delight. And that’s worth remembering, especially today, Earth Day.
I showed the pair fiddleheads—tightly coiled fern fronds destined to unfurl in the warmth and sunshine of an April day.
While walking and playing at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, we pocketed pine cones. And a smooth flat stone. Treasures.
But the true treasure is time. Time with Isabelle and Isaac. Time to love on them and teach them and learn from them. Time to grow our love for one another and strengthen that special bond between grandparent and grandchild. A bond unlike any other.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling