My dear friend, Sarah, brilliant innovator over at Art Expedition
tagged me to participate in the
Thank you, Sarah, for thinking me worthy of this honor and trusting I have inspiring quotes to share.
So I will begin with a quote from my two-year-old granddaughter, Tessa, because nothing convinces me more that it’s worthwhile to get up each morning than the promise of talking with her, her brother, or her two cousins.
A bit of background about Tessa. First of all, Tessa isn’t her real name. Being so young and unable to comprehend privacy, I’ve changed her name and the names of all the children in this article. It’s OK to put myself out there but I don’t have the right to expose these little ones. Everything else, however, is true.
Tessa is learning to talk and she’s both friendly and willing to try out her new communication skills with everyone. Her usual introduction is to look you in the eye and say,
“I Tessa. I two.”
She holds up the index finger of one hand, then the pointer finger. But that dang little pointer finger drags her middle finger along for the ride, and three fingers now declare her age (incorrectly) so she uses her other hand to hold down the rebellious middle finger. Victorious, she shows two fingers to match her age.
Tessa teaches as much as she learns every day. How to welcome the audacity to try new things. How to step up and do what the big kids do, or at least what her big brother does. How to screech with glee over each little effort and every single event because why wait for something out of the ordinary when the whole world blooms extraordinary? Her shadow stretched to challenge giants, her hands poised to paint, her mouth eager to taste, Tessa embraces adventure.
I’ve lost the capacity to be as thunderstruck as Tessa, but I am a rebel through and through. I’m supposed to post a favorite quote once a day for three days in a row, and nominate three fellow bloggers each day. I’m going to post one quote, except today it will be six, once a week for three weeks. If you are so inclined, please join in this 3-Day Quote Challenge and invite yourself to participate. Figuratively I hold up that rebellious middle finger but it means something a bit different from adorable Tessa’s intent. Yeah, you’ve likely figured it out.
My next favorite quote is from her big brother, Callan, who is four. Callan’s vocabulary is enormous and he puts a lot of thought into his presence on Earth. On his third birthday, he reached milestone after milestone, becoming a big kid before everyone’s eyes. He petted a mouse at the pet store, ate all the frosting off his birthday cake but none of the cake, had a snowball fight, planted flowers in the garden, and pooped and peed in the big toilet for the first time. That’s as good as traveling to the moon and back when you’ve just turned three. He got very serious and said,
“I’m Callan right now. When I grow up, will I still be Callan?”
Yes, you will, Callan. Only older, more thoughtful, still bursting with the enthusiasm to take on the world, one adventure after another. Then he exclaimed,
With you in the world, Callan, the whole world is indeed marvelous. I’m trying to help keep the world safe for you, beautiful for you, healthy for you. Because you and all other children deserve a good and decent world to live in, that you may grow up and be who you choose to be – Lego builder, rocket man, artist, train conductor, scientist, thinker, leader, gardener.
My sparkling and articulate granddaughter Lila, who’s now ten, makes every stranger her friend, inviting them to share her joy at marching in the local Fourth of July parade with pom pom headbands she made for her entire Girl Scout troop, or to a giggle-filled sleep over in the bonus room. When she was four, after I ran out of pennies playing dreidle, she pushed half her pile to me. Winning wasn’t important, playing was, and always with her ingratiating smile.
She exhibited her comprehension skills when she was only six. It was the end of kindergarten and the whole summer lay before her like a horizon on the move. First, though, I wanted to inspect her school packet, a notebook with entries for each unit studied. Kids these days study topics I didn’t encounter until college, so when I saw the Mayflower she’d cut and pasted on blue paper, I felt comfortable asking her to tell me about it. Eagerly Lila said,
“It’s a picture of the Titanic that left China to go across the Pacific and land on bedrock because the king wouldn’t let them go to church.”
This child understands history and its implications on the current political situation. I wish I had her zestful ambassadorial skill. Thankfully, she isn’t allowed to Tweet. Yet.
My first grandchild is Adam, and at twelve he bears his responsibility as The Oldest with sensitivity and dignity. He patiently mentors the younger children who adore him. For two years he served as his sister’s secret friend, leaving notes so she would still believe in fairies. Grace resides in this child’s soul. Someone you love having by your side, he comes home from the first day of school, from a Boy Scout meeting, or a day at the zoo, from working at a park clean up, from just about everything, and says,
“This was the best day ever.”
At the recent death of his great-grandmother, he was devastated when, after hearing the adults in our family share our memories of her, he realized he had never known her when she was healthy, before Alzheimer’s disease stole her mind. It shook him mightily to grasp that the great-grandmother he’d known was a very different person only ten years before he met her. But he loved her dearly.
Adam, you are appreciative and gracious every day of your life. You have wisdom beyond your years. I wish I had half your ability to wrap yourself in the joy of each occasion yet still be empathetic with the sorrows of the world.
I explained the meaning of a prayer when Adam was about eight and asked if he knew what the word “amen” meant. He answered,
“In political terms, ‘End of message.’”
My grandchildren remind me how wonderful it is to be alive. End of message.
All photos from Pratt Family archives. No permission given to use these photos.