Thursday, July 23, 2015
Morning Thanks--Lessons from a kid
Who knows why anymore? It wasn't the first time, and I'm quite sure it won't be the last. He's not a tough kid to get along with, and he loves coming over to his grandparents' house. Every time he's here he asks if he can have a sleepover, even when it's impossible. But occasionally, just occasionally, he gets, well, impatient about what he wants. He gets a head full of steam and we just don't act fast enough to register on his speedometer.
Maybe like this. He's down here playing, and he suddenly gets in his head that he wants something to eat. I tell him okay, but I don't leave my chair. He wants whatever it is now, but I'm trying to finish a sentence or figure out where to go with things. "C'mon, Papa," he says, as if he were dragging an anchor. He says it with some feigned magnanimity, as if his having a cookie or a dish of applesauce or cooler is something the two of us will certainly greatly enjoy. It's generous of him but it's only a gesture, sheer rhetoric because he's not thinking of me.
"Hold on," I tell him, not looking up. "Just got to finish this a minute."
"Come on," he'll say, both words now plainly enunciated, all the patience of one of those clamoring grackle young'ins just outside my window begging ma every minute for some bit of whatever it is they pick up beneath the feeder.
"I'll be right there," I tell him--and I will.
"But I'm hungry," he'll say.
"Patience," I say again, then stop and wonder at my word choice. He's just a little boy. I tell myself he may not have a clue what patience means. "Patience," I say again. "Ian, you know what patience means?"
Immediate downcast eyes followed by a significant dramatic pause as he stands at the stairwell, moping. "Waiting," he says, reluctantly. This is not a quiz, and he's not asking if he's got his vocabulary right.
His grandma and I both giggle. "He knows all right," his grandma says wisely.
He stays right there, doesn't move an inch. "Come on," he says, as if nothing right now is funny.
"No, he doesn't," I tell my wife. "If he did know what it was, he'd practice it." In a moment, I know I sound like some carping, self-righteous Calvinist.
She rolls her eyes at me. He's only five years old, after all.
And then it hits me: our little grandson, cute as a bug's ear, is just becoming more like the rest of us, more decidedly human.
This morning I'm thankful for what you learn from your grandkids.