This I Believe

Juanita - Tacoma, Washington
Entered on January 24, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in the wonder and joy of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

Nearly eight years ago I became a grandmother. Life for this little family was not easy and I was needed to fill the gap. Suddenly and unexpectedly I was a parent all over again.

Like most mothers, much of the wonder of raising my own children got lost in the day to day worries that filled my days. Would they hurt themselves? Were they learning all the things they should learn? Was there enough money to pay the bills? How would I ever get the laundry done, dinner cooked and clean up the “artwork” on the hallway wall? Even as I played with my beautiful boys, part of my mind was focused on all the things that needed to be done. I seldom threw myself fully into the joy of their childhood.

This time I knew that dust bunnies aren’t carnivorous and kids don’t die from wrinkles. If you give them a safe environment and things to explore, babies and toddlers will learn all they need to know. You just get to go along for the ride.

Lying on the grass with a toddler watching ants march was once again fascinating. This time I didn’t fret if we had just tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner. I found that shining flashlights on the ceiling of the closet until we fell asleep was a great way to get a tired little boy to take a nap.

Since that day eight years ago things have changed. My son remarried to a remarkable young woman and the little boy I cherish has a solid family and home. My days are no longer filled with caring for him. They are also no longer filled with snuggly naps and little boy kisses. But I would not change that for anything. Things are as they should be.

This experience irrevocably changed me. I came to fully realize that I understand almost nothing. What a wondrous reality. I choose to watch more science shows on TV. Questions from a child inspire me to search books or the internet for answers. The complexity of my world dazzles me and I am in awe of the vast body of knowledge compiled by humankind. Like a child I learn for no greater or lesser purpose than to learn.

A few years ago, a beautiful little girl arrived in our family and another baby boy will soon be born. I know that I am not the first grandmother ever, yet for me each day it is all new and a wonder.