Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tapping My Toes

It was a tough drive home last night, through near white-out conditions and a spring blizzard on the stretch from Field in BC to just before Cochrane here in Alberta. It was a long, brutal stretch of driving mostly borne by Micheal; after Canmore he had had enough so I took over for the last stretch of tough driving. We finally got in after 1:30 AM and it was after 2:30 AM before I finally got to bed.

With Mike driving, I had plenty of time to look out the window and think. I spent much of the drive, especially after he took over in Salmon Arm, thinking about my week, my children and grandchildren, and my life in BC. I was sad; sad about what I was missing, sad that I would not get to enjoy being a grandfather for long. I was tired, and that added to my sadness.

Still, the day itself was not a sad day. It was only those moments of reflection that took me down that dark stretch. Looked upon in its entirety, my day was anything but sad. It was filled with funny and joyful, laughter and love. I got to spent a bit of Grandpa time with Charlotte, something I have never really had the opportunity to do in the past.

Yesterday, before we left Abbotsford, Meaghan and I had some paperwork to complete at the insurance office. When I arrived, Charlotte was excited to see me, thrilled to climb on my lap and say "I love you, Grandpa" and go for a ride with me. She noted our similarities; "I have a buggy and you have a wheelchair." She asked about why I needed a wheelchair and I simply replied "My legs don't work", an insufficient answer at best for a young mind that continually asks why. She asked, and I went on to respond that my legs were sick and didn't work, to which she responded, "But my legs work", as if that statement settled the matter. I was later to discover that it did not.

We went into the insurance office to complete the paperwork. My part consisted of signing, so on completion I asked Charlotte if we should go get hot chocolate while Mommy did her paperwork. "Yes", she said, "we can go now." It was not so much permission as instruction.

We went off to the coffee shop, her sitting steady in my lap as I wheeled us along. We discussed cake, a subject on which she was more than agreeable. So in we went; I ordered drinks, Charlotte got a Rice Crispy Square and I got a piece of Carrot Cake. We sat and discussed a great many things; why Mike was here, where I lived, how she would like to come with us to Calgary. Then the subject of legs came up again.

At this point she simply announced "My legs work, Grandpa, but yours don't." Not wanting to be completely bested by a three year old, I, having my right leg up and crossed over my left, pointed out to Charlotte that parts of my leg worked. "See", I said, "I can tap my toes", moving them up and down, my shoe tapping out an unknown rhythm.

"I can tap my toes too, Grandpa." Charlotte then reached down with her tiny fingers and tapped the toes of her boots, announcing gleefully "tap, tap, tap, tap".

I had no answer for that. She had me. What's more she had taught me a lesson. Just because I see the world and describe it in one way doesn't mean she, or anyone else for that matter, has to see the world the same way. She certainly could tap her toes. As I immediately realized, so could I, in more than one way.

I love children. They have not yet constructed the walls and windows we use to frame our world and protect ourselves. They simply see things and say it as they see it. I think I would be a good Grandpa; I am pretty sure both Charlotte and Rose will be wonderful grandchildren. They already are.

1 comment:

  1. And you are a loving grandfather Rick. The girls love you so that proves it. love Mom