Saturday, March 3, 2012

On becoming five

I first met him five years ago, on February 26. He looked at me as if I were the only person in the room. In fact, he did that to everyone, and it made me love him even more.

Birthday Boy and Lego fire truck
His name is Augie, and he was my first grandchild, the one who taught me how to live in the moment, immersed in love. He's been coming to our house for daycare since he was three months old, and the desire to join him and "Pa" started my transition to part-time work, and finally to retirement.

As Augie turns five, he is smart, funny, loving, curious, imaginative, and passionate about wild animals, words, drumming, and Legos. He reads signs, books, newspaper headlines, ads, and birthday cards. Sometimes at preschool a parent comes in to read a birthday child's favorite story. Last Monday Augie's daddy was there, but it was Augie who read the story. Wednesday when his class made lemonade, Augie recited the lemons-and-sugar poem he'd created a couple of weeks ago. Having once made it up, he's got it in his memory, probably forever, along with song lyrics and facts about birds of Minnesota, dinosaurs of the Jurassic Age, and animals of the African savanna. 

Not surprisingly, when a child is so curious, self-starting, and focused, he can also be strong-willed. His fifth birthday has been used as a teachable moment to work on "listening" when parents, grandparents, or teachers tell him to do something, and being more responsible (come when called, be more careful not to spill orange juice and cereal, use words instead of force to resolve conflicts with little sister). Each of the past few weeks, he's a little more mature than the week before, and a little more repentant when the temptation to, say, unroll all the toilet paper is too strong to resist.

Peter and I often talk about the need to help a child function smoothly in the world without breaking that child's spirit. Like their parents, we want to help our grandchildren play within the rules but be able to question assumptions, think creatively, stand up for themselves. Peter helped Augie's mom become a spectacular example of that. It's not an easy process, but it's so worthwhile.

One of the privileges of being five is that Augie's party included not just extended family but also several friends and their parents, and it was held at an indoor playground instead of at home. He was a gracious host, greeting each guest, leading people from the playground to the party room, asking whether people were ready for cake, and thanking each family for his gifts. It was interesting to watch him take charge, deciding to sit front-row-center "so nobody wonders where the Birthday Boy is," and momentarily attempting to assign seating (a challenge for any party-giver!). 

As usual, Peter and I spread our birthday celebration over a week. Peter made Augie's favorite breakfast (scrambled eggs with cheese plus sausage and English muffins) both pre- and post-birthday. We stuck candles in blueberry muffins and sang Happy Birthday--Vi as a cow (moo-moo-moo-moo-moo-moo), Pa as a chickadee (chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee), me as an English-speaking human. Augie and Vi both got new Lego sets, and we've spent many hours playing with them.

It's taken me a long time to finish this post, and not just because I was under the weather. I love this boy, and I cherish each day with him. Being five means that in the fall, he'll be off to full-day kindergarten instead of here. Last week he began talking about helping Grandma in the garden next fall. Pa reminded him that he'll be in school every day. For a moment, Augie lost his smile and reached for both our hands. I quickly promised that we will arrange times for him to come and help me in the garden. I suspect that by September he'll have new things on his mind, but for now, we both need to feel reassured that we'll continue to have golden time together.


21 comments:

Retired English Teacher said...

This is such a beautiful post. I love the mindful way you approach helping with the training of these children. You and Peter are such a gift to your grandchildren. Augie is blessed.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Oh, Nancy,this is so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. Wonderfully expressed, it's filled with love and commitment. How blessed Augie is, you and Pa, too. He sounds like one very fine man emerging, moment by moment.

Linda Myers said...

I wish my granddaughters had a close-by grandma like you!

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Lovely post...

I'm sure you all will have much more golden time, together. :-) And memories will be made, by all.

Hope you are feeling much, much better!!!

"Always keep your home presentable,
assuming you keep a home
for purposes of presentation."


~Robert Brault

Jeanie said...

That first look at that first grandchild is a life-changing moment. You are fortunate to have had such an up close and involved part in his life. There will, I'm sure, be changes with him starting school, but I'm also sure there will be new joys.

CherylK said...

First of all, I'm so sorry you were under the weather and I hope you're feeling much better by now.

Secondly, this is such a heartwarming post. I just loved reading it!

Charlotte said...

The one that made you a grandmother is always very special. I have the privilege of keeping my first granddaughter while her parents work. I was working and couldn't keep the first 2 grandsons. It makes a great connection to be able to take care of a grandchild each day.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Birthday to Augie! This was a beautiful post Nancy..the love you have for him just oozes all over! How wonderful for you to be involved in his life everyday in someway! He is going to miss yo and Pa and Vi Mae when he goes to school..of course he is more than ready to go already by the sounds of it..reading already WOW!!!
I hope you are over the crud and are feeling better, it took me about ten days to shake it..and some days I just get real tired out..getting older:(

Red said...

Great that you are able to look at things through a child's eyes. Kids have a lot to teach us. It used to be that kids were treated as little adults...wrong.
Enjoy your time with your grandson as you say it ends in Sept.

DJan said...

He is growing up, but not away. I think it's wonderful that you are able to cherish him and spend time with him every day. It reminded me how hard I cried the day my son got on the school bus without me. It was MUCH harder for me than for him. :-)

Southwest Arkie said...

Life is all the sweeter with grandchildren under our feet! And I feel your sadness about him starting school full time- it will be an exciting time too though.

IndigoWrath said...

Hi Nancy! This was a lovely read; he sounds a fine lad. Although this is a team effort, you and your husband have given him the most amazing boost to start his young journey; I take my hat off to you both. Indigo

Grandmother said...

This is such a tender tribute to your grandson. Happy Birthday to him! What treasured memories you've built for him and for you. Bless you all.

The Broad said...

In the picture at the top of the post,looks so much like my middle grandson that it really took me back! How lucky he is and how lucky you are!! My husband and I lived with our grandsons for a year in 2008, but I have not seen them since 2009 when the family moved to Korea...Thank goodness for Skype -- it's not the same as being able to scoop them up into a hug, but at least I get to see them in real time. This is such a lovely happy post!

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs said...

A sweet birthday post to an obviously awesome young man. I find it so sweet he took pause when learning he'd miss out on time in the garden with grandma come fall. Precious kiddo.

I hope you're feeling better.

troutbirder said...

Feeling better? Good! What a sweet boy. And post. We have 4 grandchildren. Three adopted. Unfortunately they now live in Arizona. We visit as often as we can... :)

Chantel said...

Ah...such sweetness. My eyes are damp and my heart full of memories. A lucky lad he is, to have you. Blessings...

Pearl said...

You sound like a wonderful grandma. :-)

Pearl

Ellen said...

What a wonderful post. Augie sounds like such a delightful, smart, funny and insightful little boy. You are a blessing to him too. I guess it works both ways doesn't it. I feel like you do, being a grandmother is the best thing that ever happened to me. And now I'm so blessed because we are expecting twin great grandbabies. Yippee for us! Sending blessings your way!

Nezzy said...

Oh darlin' I can feel your love for him through your lovin' words here.

A very happy number five to you precious Augie!!! What a handsome little dude.

God bless and have an awesome day!!!

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for Grandparents and Caregivers said...

What a fun post full of your sweet family memories. And I loved the LEGOs - my grandkids are mega LEGO lovers as well! A delightful visit all around. :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails