|age 9 months, reading Moo Baa La-La-La|
It could be worse. Augie’s going to be here for a little over an hour each morning before Grandpa drives him to school, and we’re thankful for that. But we’ll miss spending long, unstructured days with him.
The transition will be especially challenging for ViMae, who has one more year with us before she, too, starts school. Augie has been the center of her universe. Much of the time, the thing she most wants to be doing is whatever Augie is doing. We are looking forward to helping her discover her own interests and passions while she has our undivided attention. But just for the moment, we’re looking back.
|age 2, pretend-baking|
Our first priority was always to be sure the kids know they are loved—by their parents, by us, by their other grandparents and family members. When Augie was two, we were singing “Old MacDonald.” Augie sang, “And on the farm he had a Grandma.” I held my breath. What would Grandma say? “With an ‘I love you’ here, an ‘I love you’ there….”. I posted on Facebook, “My life is complete.”
|age 3, with official umpire's cap|
When he was eight months old I handed him a baseball; by the end of the day he could roll it straight to me, every time. At two he batted buckets of balls off a tee every day and hit live pitching besides. At three he sat in the stands and called balls and strikes—accurately. At four he tried to learn to keep a scorebook. Last week at five he turned his back to the game and read a Star Wars book! You can provide opportunities; they decide what to love and when.
|age 4, at drum set|
Over the years we helped foster his passion for varied music—Peter and the Wolf, the Nutcracker, old-school drumming by Gene Krupa, rock classics by the Who and the Stones. He loves the dancing of Fred Astaire but emulates the dancing of Donald O’Connor in Singing in the Rain. He makes his own music on guitar, piano, harmonica, violin, and most of all drums. We showed him that music can be read but never pushed him. Last week he studied some sheet music and said aloud to himself, “This is going to be hard.” Then he placed both hands on the piano keys and played a lovely, gentle piece very different in style from anything he has tried before. The music is in him, and as he gets older I know he’ll find new ways to express it.
|age 4, making salad with ViMae|
He’s a planner. He has talked for a year or more about having a smoothie shop, so I decided to help him develop a business plan. I thought it would be a cute thing to pull out some day after he’s forgotten all about it. Well, this kid dictated a plan that includes the layout, location, staffing, menu, target audience, and even the tools he’ll need to build the place. Pa sketched elevations and floor plans to Augie’s specifications, and I’ve made menus, both hand-written and typed. He’s frustrated that he hasn’t been able to get a contractor working on it yet. When a teacher assigns him a project, he’s likely to carry it out pretty thoroughly.
|age 5, with new Lego fire plane|
Friday was Augie’s last regular day here for daycare, and we celebrated with a new Lego fire plane and his favorite Chinese food for lunch. As he happily skipped out the back door at the end of the day, Abby said, “And so it begins.” As a teacher, she can envision for better or worse the process on which he is embarking. I didn’t tell her that I was thinking, “And so it ends.”
But it doesn’t end. We’ll still see him every morning, and other times as well, most likely. And we still have unfinished business.
On Friday, he told Peter, “You need to teach me all your life lessons before you die, so I can teach them to my grandson.”