Let me tell you a grandmother story from last March, the beginning of the pandemic.
Grayson, my then three year old grandson, and I, needed to go uptown to Fleet to purchase rubber mud boots, because of all the mud in our yard. I put his mittens on before we entered the store and told him he couldn’t touch anything, only the boots we were going to try on.
“My Daddy and me go to Fyeet! To get Jax’s dog food!” he declared.
Once in the store, he was awed by everything.
“Aweeee. . . that’s so cuuuute!” he said to the birdbath and the garden stuff. We headed over to the toy aisle to see what they had. He was thrilled by it all. Not once did he beg or even ASK for something to buy.
My goodness, I was thinking quite smugly, this grandson of mine, is such a perfect child.
He picked out the boots that light up and we carried them up to the till.
It was there where he announced that he was NOT leaving yet. Arms were crossed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, confused. The entire errand was almost perfect! I was so close!
“I. WANNA. TOUCH. SUMFIN!” he blared. And, he stomped one foot, arms still crossed.
It was a typical three year old scene and I giggled understanding his frustration. I told him he couldn’t touch anything, so naturally, he’s going to want to do this. I should have known better. If you tell me I can’t have a cookie, I’ll want a dozen.
I reminded him of the germs. He repeated his declaration. Louder. I told him there were things outside to touch, but really I didn’t know what. I really just wanted to get us out of the store, standing in line, people watching this grandma with a Phd in education and distraction her only tool. Everything I knew – evaporated under pressure. Gone.
I was able to coax him out – he shuffled – repeating his mantra.
“I. WANNA. TOUCH. SUMFIN!” echoed behind him.
Thank Peter, Paul and Mary for the lawnmowers lined up along the front of the store. He spotted them immediately.
“Can I sit on one, Gamma Serry?” he asked kindly.
“Yes, just one,” I replied, sighing, “any one mower to try out and touch with your mittens on.”
He walked back and forth. . eyeing them all.
“Ooooooo. . look at THAT one, Gamma Serry!” he beamed.
“Yes!” I said, “that one IS sumfin! It’s the biggest, with side bars for steering!”
“Can I sit on it?” he asked.
“Yes, go ahead,” I told him.
And, he climbed aboard and sat there, pretending to drive, touching the steering bars with his mittens on, a smirk on his face as he looked at me.
“Watch THIS Gamma Serry!” he yelled.
“I’m watching,” I said, smiling.
And, I soaked this all in.
The smallest of moments that I’m sure I missed with my own four children.
He didn’t ask for the moon. He just wanted to “touch sumfin”. To feel it underneath him.
To imagine. And, to have someone he loved see what he is capable of, if only in his imagination.
“See me, Gamma Serry?! See what I can do?”
“Yes, yes, I can. You are sumfin.”
Note to self: When you believe you can’t do something, ask a child if they think you can. And, also, pay attention to what they can do, and tell them they are amazing.
I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.
“Teachers who practice their subject – who think about them in their own time – can show students a way of life.” ~Diana Senechal