When my first grandchild, Noah, was born, I counted all 10 toes and fingers. I wanted to make sure the obstetrician didn’t leave anything behind. Those of you with grandkids probably did the same.
I then spent the next few years reveling in every moment “baby,” every step “toddler,” and every word “grandma” — one is never too old to discover love again. Out of that love I even bonded laughingly when five-year-old Noah asked, “Gigi, what are those stripes on your face?” (Wrinkles, Noah. Every single one gracefully earned!)
Now that Noah is 10, I continue to laugh when we discuss how I once was as competitive and skilled at soccer as he is today. His response?
“Well, that’s how life is, Gigi. Out with the old and in with the new.”
Already over his short life we have become close. We talk only after we first listen. We hug without asking. We travel a path together that no one else can walk. He has become Frick to my Frack.
As friends and activities take up more of his time, we don’t know where our path together may lead. After all, time is precious.
So, we decided to interview each other to tease out what it means to be a grandchild to a grandparent and a grandparent to a grandchild. We want this journey of love to continue despite any unforeseen detours.
Here’s the GPS we’re following.
Beverly Graves: Noah, what does every kid want from a grandparent?
Noah Fine: If other kids are like me, I want you to love me. I want to have a bond no one else can have that is unbreakable. It doesn’t hurt for you to eat my squash either even when mom says, “Don’t get up from the table until your plate is spotless.” Spoiling me doesn’t hurt either.
Noah: Gigi, when you say you love me, why do you love me?
Beverly: I can spoil you while at the same time getting back at your mom by doing so. But really, Noah, I love you because your 10 toes and fingers are making an encouraging difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of others. You high-five them when they need a high-five because you just sense people’s needs naturally. You are just a good person. You don’t want to start wars, you want to create peace — although maybe not always with your sister. But you know the importance already of comforting others.
Beverly: Important question, Noah: Hot dog or hamburger; white milk or chocolate; piano practice or soccer practice?
Noah: Hamburger, chocolate milk, and definitely not piano practice.
Beverly: More importantly, what will be some of your choices five years from now?
Noah: Sometimes I’ll choose friends over family because I want to hang with my friends. Sometimes I’ll have to choose school over friends and sports. Sometimes I’ll have to control rolling my eyes when I am annoyed and don’t get what I want. I don’t like this question because I don’t know what my choices will be in five years.
Noah: Gigi, what do you hope I will be like in five years? Will I annoy you?
Beverly: Probably no more than I annoy you. Annoying each other is a trait of all families. My hope is you will have friends who don’t pressure you in the wrong way. Good friends look out for your best interests when you need to say no. I hope your dreams will teach you to do well in your studies, or your sports, or even in piano practice if you haven’t quit by then. I just want you to be the person you want to be, knowing that compassion for others will be your best guide.
Beverly: Got a final joke, Noah?
Noah: How did a scarecrow get the Nobel Prize? He was out standing in his field.
Noah Fine is a fifth grader who loves soccer. He wants to be a chemical engineer when he grows up.