Do we become jaded as we age? Sort of a “been there, done that” mentality? When experiences aren’t new, it’s less likely that we view them with wonder and delight. That’s one reason why “grandparentville” is so exceptional. For those of you who are grandparents, you know this. For those of you who aren’t quite at that phase, it is all the things your friends have promised.
My husband, Bob, and I are in a fortunate position to interact with our only grandchild on a regular basis. Every day is magical when you observe the world through the eyes of a little one. Everything tastes better (and everything does get tasted!), everything looks more interesting, and every new noise is like a symphony. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Fourth of July became a whole lot more interesting this year. Honestly, I’ve come to dread the Fourth of July. In my opinion, it’s a holiday ruined by noisy firecrackers. I worry about fires sparking in the desert. Our dogs pant and pace, scared by the unexpected noises emanating throughout the neighborhood. As someone who retires to bed rather early, I know this holiday will force a late night. For all of these inconveniences, I allow myself a grumpy mood. But then there is this little baby experiencing her first Fourth of July. Despite this and in my best curmudgeon voice, I remark that she “won’t remember it,” so why do anything?
Then I notice that my husband comes home with fireworks. Fireworks?!? I hate fireworks. But the fireworks aren’t for me. They are for our granddaughter who will never remember them. It’s just a few packets of sparklers and a couple of other short-lived ground dwelling firecrackers. I consider how far I’ll go in my protest. Evening begins to descend. Our granddaughter is getting into sleepy mode and my husband begins prepping for this “personal fireworks display” in the backyard. Our daughter has her daughter dressed in an adorable patriot onesie. They all head outside for the festivities and of course - I’m not going to miss this!
My husband lights a sparkler and waves it in front of Peanut (nickname). She’s entranced, not scared at all. Then, I find myself entranced. Seeing her take in this experience is mesmerizing. She’s smiling and waving and making noise. You can practically see her brain working as she tries to assess how all of this is happening. It is magic to her.
The “show” lasts maybe 15 minutes and then it’s done and we pack her up for bed. No, she won’t remember her first Fourth of July but I sure will. This sweet memory will come up again and again over the years. It won’t be her memory and yet she’ll hear all about it. Our history is often made complete by hearing from those around us. Your parents can fill in gaps of knowledge that you simply were too young to recall. And you were unknowingly shaped by the ancestors who came before you. Their choices ripple across generations. Family stories and memories contribute to the complete picture of who you are today and who your great-grandchildren will be in the future.
When you have the opportunity to intentionally make special memories – do it! Life is filled will unexpected events, some good and some bad. When a holiday prompts you or a special event is afoot, take it in. And when you have the chance to view the experience through a fresh set of eyes, by all means, jump at the chance! There is wonder all around us but sometimes we just don’t see it until we see someone else see it.