Jack and the Learning Curve to Adulthood
I have written about the imagination of Jack and Owen. Watching grandchildren move from babies into adulthood is one of the great blessings of being a grandparent. Ayanna, my first grandchild, is an adult and is her second year of college. However, since I have danced with death several times since was in high school, I see life differently.
In the past four years, things have changed in my Weltanschauung. In addition to dancing with death a couple of times, two additional children came into my life. Jack is four and Owen is two. When Ayanna came into my life, I did not feel my mortality as I do today.
Interestingly, Jack and Owen have forced me to process the deaths of both my grandfathers. My grandfathers loved and cared for me as much as I care for Jack and Owen. However, they both died prior to my being able to remember them. I have picture of them playing with me or helping me walk.
Nonetheless, my memories of them have gone just like they are gone from this world. While I have a very faint memory of my mother's father, it is not much. A part of my interest in my two grandsons is two-fold: my sheer joy loving and caring for them, but it is also imagining what is lost in my memory about times that I have had with my grandfathers' love and care for me.
For example, what funny stories and memories did my grandfathers have about me while I was toddling around? Here are some about Jack and Owen.
Where Jack got the idea of imagining driving my parked car, when it in his driveway, I have no idea. Regardless, he loves it. Now Owen is into it.
They will share time behind the wheel on our weekly babysitting visits with them in Indy. However, they were staying with us for a weekend in Crown Point where Jack and Owen love to go kayaking on the lake. Jack especially enjoys ramming the buoys in the lake and going under what we call the tunnel, which is merely a road that goes over a portion of the lake. Nonetheless, when under the tunnel, we like yelling and hearing our echo.
This time, like every time, I ask Jack what he wants to do while kayaking. He wanted to attack the buoys, which we did. Then I asked about going into the tunnel and listen to our echoes. He did not respond. I followed up by inquiring again what he wanted to do.
Jack had noticed four young girls, ranging in ages from six to twelve, jumping on a trampoline raft. Then he said, "I want to watch the girls." Therefore, we paddled over to within 25-feet of them. Jack did not want to join them; he just wanted to watch them having a good time bouncing on the trampoline and then into the lake. Now, had Owen been with me, he would have already been out of the kayak and swimming over to join the girls on the trampoline.
There we sat for ten minutes just watching, and saying nothing. Jack just watched the girls having fun. Then their parents called the girls for lunch, and we returned to our dock. I did not ask Jack about wanting to watch the girls playing on the trampoline. I just dropped the subject. However, something was happening within his mind.
Nonetheless, that day our subdivision was having a garage, which Jack had also noticed. Therefore, off we went to find some priceless treasures for Owen and him. I picked out a wooden truck for Owen could ride, and Jack found a van that when opened was a space station.
As I paid for the two toys for the kids, I noticed Jack looking at two battery-operated cars. One was a red Jeep and the other was a yellow Corvette. He just stood there eyeing the two cars. This gaze with very much like his watching the girls. He wanted to get one of the cars, but I told him that his mother probably would not allow him to have one. I paid for the truck and van and returned our home.
While Jack and Owen played with their newfound treasures, I told my wife about Jack's desire for one of the cars. I also said that he looked sad when I told him that we could not get one for him. As it turns out, his mother was thinking about getting him a battery-operated car for him in Indy.
Therefore, I called Jack and told him that we would have to go back to our neighbor's garage sale before the cars were sold. Both the Jeep and the Corvette were still there. Naturally, I asked Jack, which one he wanted. As he pondered, I bought both...one for Indy and the other for our home.
We took the red Jeep to Indy. After giving Jack a Driver's Ed 101 class, Jack was ready for his non-imagining drive in his yard. It was not long before he was tooling around like a sixteen old boy with a learner's permit.
It is amazing what one's imagination can do. A couple years of driving my parked Jetta in his Jack's driveway has morphed into watching the girls and driving a Jeep around town. I told Jack that he could take a spin one more time and asked where he wanted to go. He responded, "I want to drive to Mandalay,"
Off Jack drove on the road to Mandalay.
Carl Sagan, one of my mentors said, "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."
Therein lies a lesson for Jack and Owen about life. However, it is a lesson that we all need to learn in life.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.