All our children
I sit at my desk drinking a cup of tea and admiring the view from my window. There are trees everywhere; green and tall, stretching away into the distance, their leaves washed clean by the recent rain, still glistening with droplets of water.
My granddaughter sits beside me on the floor, drawing pictures on a pad. She hums to herself while she draws, engrossed in her work. It is a peaceful, perfect moment. Spending the occasional day with her like this has become one of the pleasures of my life.
When she visits, she enters the house in different ways. Sometimes she hides behind a door and jumps out to surprise me. Other times, she comes running in and throws herself into my arms, exclaiming, "Grandma, I have come to play with you!" And of course on each visit, she comes armed with new questions that range from enquiries about animals to the duties of friendship, her preferred books and countless other subjects. I play chess and draughts with her too, and compete with her in playing electronic games.
It is a re-learning process for me to read Roald Dahl again with my grandchild, to rediscover the common sense in Alice in Wonderland and see the constellations in her book of Natural History.
The years of being young parents ourselves seem far away now and I seldom remember the early morning rush of getting the children ready for school, helping with their homework, and nursing them through chicken pox, measles, coughs and colds.
I remember clearly though, the first steps my small children took, their first words, and the first time they mastered any skill. I remember the way they looked trustingly onto my face and held their arms out to me when they needed something, knowing that Mummy would comfort them and make them laugh. Those times with my children were joyful ones and I have been able to experience them again through my three grandchildren.
For most of us, middle age is accompanied by fewer struggles, more comfort, material security, and a general feeling of well-being. Having said that, middle age also brings with it a certain sense of detachment, even cynicism. While we may continue to hold fast to our most deeply felt beliefs and convictions, and work conscientiously towards achieving our lifelong goals, we sometimes feel that nothing in the world will ever be able to surprise or fascinate us again.
The young however, dispel such feelings when we observe how their lives are packed with the mandatory and the pleasurable. Piano lessons, homework, and games practice, but also ideas, energy, hopes for the future and magnificent dreams, according to age occupy and enrich them.
We see in our young a repeat of our dreams; but better, more modern, more sophisticated dreams, because the world has changed. The young people of today take for granted technology and miracles we never dreamed of, and are more assertive. My granddaughter knows things about the computer and smartphone that I don't, although she is little; and my grandson of three has very strong views about how his mother should behave with him, and how she should treat his demands for lollipops and cupcakes.
These are small things in their way, but then the greatest joy in life comes from enjoying our little ones and the things that