It was cold, but it was a beautiful day. Signs of spring in the air… catkins and pussy willow dancing in the breeze, swathes of daffodils about to open beneath the trees… and the first of the early blossom open on dark boughs.
Two small, smiling faces greeted Grandma at the door and we were whisked off to the local lake with the intention of feeding the ducks. It has to be said that the ducks were rather outnumbered by the swans and the seagulls but the mallard couples had been personally named by my granddaughters, so they were definitely the most important.
Our quiet corner by the flooded stepping stones was soon overrun by hopeful diners. I doubt if any bird went hungry, given the number of children feeding them by the main square, but it was all ‘up close and personal’ where we were, with Hollie telling the birds how to behave and share…
It is wonderful to be out with the children, teaching them as they question, pointing out the scales on a bird’s foot and opening conversations on where we all ‘came from’. And it matters little how old the children get… even in his thirties, my son is asking about the relative strength of bird bones…
…and I am coming home to look up the answers too. It really is about life-long learning. And not always about the facts.
Learning to understand facts is only part of the journey… learning to understand each other, the ‘whys and wherefores’ of how we act as we do, the choices we make, the boundaries we impose… they are perhaps the more important issue, for too often it seems as if we close ourselves off from life for no reason.
It was curious being pushed around the lake by the girls today. Most people simply chose to ignore the person in the wheelchair. Others acknowledged another human being with a smile… yet others, and these seemed the majority sadly, made it clear they felt I should not be on ‘their’ path, breathing their air and putting them at risk (presumably with my ‘cancer microbes…’).
The girls, though, don’t care… any more than Hollie and her friends cared when I turned up in full ‘princess dress’ for one of her birthdays. It is who you really are that matters to a child. The little one has her own ideas on that. Her name, which means, appropriately enough, ‘daughter of light’, chimed in from nowhere as we were talking. “Imogen is memory.”
And, as I waved them goodbye from my doorstep after sharing homemade cookies, retro lollipops and a wonderfully ‘grandma’ly afternoon with them… I hope she is right.