The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.”
This past week, Pam and I flew to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to celebrate our granddaughter, Maya’s first birthday with the added joy of babysitting her for four days while Ben and Emily were able to take a well-deserved break to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
As most of you grandparents are aware, a few things change when you’re babysitting your grandkids. Well if you thought you were going to get some television time in while you’re watching a one year old, you can scratch that off your list. Instead of HGTV (or whatever your “channel-du-jour”), you’ll now be watching “The Baby Channel” or “Sprout”. Actually I’ve become sorta prodigious in a way because I can sing the alphabet to a treasure trove of nursery rhyme tunes. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m much better at doing those hand motions than Pam is. (and frankly folks, that only comes with practice…and from seeing the same thing OVER 15, 000 TIMES. Sheesh!!!)
Your speech patterns change as well. I found myself slowly moving from speaking thoughtfully to avoid sentences ending in prepositions …to a high pitched and animated mixture of baby babble and short bursts of “Whoopsie”, “No no”, “Don’t touch”, Let’s come over here”, “Look out” and “Oh, YUCK.” I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve played “Peek-A-Boo” or caught Maya French kissing the dog. Oh, man.
We loved taking Maya on walks around the neighborhood. It’s so fascinating to watch them experience things for the first time in their life. As I watched her, I noticed her great curiosity at the sight of the most mundane things to me. When she saw a flower or a weed, she touched it and contemplated it’s uniqueness. As we walked, she was teaching me something valuable and timely. I was learning how to grow old well…..curiously, thoughtfully and expectantly.
The morning that Ben and Emily were coming back home, Pam and I lay in bed listening to her on the baby monitor as she was waking up. For about twenty-five minutes she was cooing and softly babbling to greet the day. Now for anyone who knows me, my mind is always flittering. ADHD gives you the ability to be mentally omni-attentional. While listening to those innocent sounds, my mind was transported to the immediacy of my sister-in-law’s cancer surgery today, Pam’s uncle’s pending heart difficulties and a friend in Texas whose wife has Alzheimer’s disease. Looking up at the off-white ceiling of our bedroom, I felt a mixture of deep emotions. My eyes welled up with a slight burning sensation in my nose. The voice of life was singing to me. “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round”…..