Adventures with Pa & Grandmama

There are so many lessons adults can learn from the lives of our children, but we are usually “too close” to the daily ups and downs to see and observe. We are too involved in work, life, raising our kids “the way they are supposed to be raised,” to really take a moment to reflect (for those who do take a moment, kudos to you!).

Grandchildren are a different category. Grandparents have the real opportunity to step back from the daily grinds…the plans, activities, ups and downs though I would be remiss to not say those do happen even with the grandparents.

Parker Palmer, in his book “Let Your Life Speak,” writes the following (p. 11):

“Watching my granddaughter from her earliest days on earth, I was able, in my early fifties, to see something that had eluded me as a twenty-something parent: my granddaughter arrived in the world as this kind of person rather than that, or that, or that.”

He goes on to say (paraphrasing a bit) his granddaughter did not arrive as “raw material” to be shaped by the image the world or others have for her. And he decided to observe her likes, dislikes, what she was drawn towards, what she steers away from, her movements, coordination, what she does, and what she says. And he decided to gather his observations in a letter and present it to his granddaughter later in life.

It is with this in mind that Adventures with Pa & Grandmama got started. Observing who our grandchildren are becoming, what gifts they possess, what peeks their interests, what makes them cringe, and what they say and do (and the corollary, what they avoid saying and doing).

Yes, at times we forget this essential role we have chosen, but it is at the heart of all Adventures: to help them discover who they are and are becoming, and to not tell them who they should be.

So, here is the re-start of the journaling of these adventures. Perhaps it is my way of creating a “letter” for my grandkids to read later in life…to see who they were while young and uninfluenced by the world “standards.”


The Step Over Life (20220112)

Living a Step Over Life is not the way to go…

I was walking in my study when I was smacked in the middle of my forehead by an “Ah-Ha!” moment.

Now, please realize I call the room my “study” but hardly any studying goes on there. I use the room for printing, computing, writing, binding and other creative endeavors. What made me stop in my tracks while moving from one area to another in that room was an extension cord.

No, I didn’t trip on it or step on it. I stepped over it.

And what is remarkable is that it wasn’t even plugged in. It was coiled in a bundle and sitting on the floor in from of my bookcase (holding the various books I “want” to study or refer to). And that’s the humorous part…it served no purpose other than to remind me I needed to put it away, but day after day I stepped over it.

Ah, now you ask, “Well, maybe where it was to be stored is difficult to get to or far away.” Not so! Ten steps, a turn, open a bin, and toss it in…2 minutes max.

So, why haven’t I put it away? For that matter why haven’t I put away books, toys, piles, or carried items to the second floor of our home? Why step over? Daily. Hourly. For weeks on end? Why continually stress myself out every time I step over something?

I could say it was due to interruptions, distractions, procrastination, not knowing where to put it, and a whole host of other reasons but I believe the bottom-line is the storyline I tell myself: “I will set it here for now and put it away the next time I head toward where it should be stored/shelved.” In a way it is procrastination; in another way it is laziness; and yet again, it could be my attempt to be more efficient and productive. And it all leads to stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed when all the piles are considered.

Yet I find piles taking residence where they are deposited. Take my orphaned keys are an example. Please, take them. The key I need is lost among the pile of keys I was eventually going to sift through. Which ones are “live” and which ones are orphaned…and which locks will I have to destroy because that one key is “missing?”

One to five minutes is all it would take to put it away or decide to dispose of it.

And I wish it were just physical things.

Electronic files including these writings, tax information, photos, and other downloaded goodies never seem to quite make it to their final resting place on my computer or in the cloud.

Thoughts pop up and I “step over” them making a mental note to get back to them later.

Store errands get side-tracked as I nimbly “step over” a stop thinking I will get to it on the way back.

Step Over.

Then we have life in general.

  • How many opportunities were “stepped over”?
  • How many dreams perished due to “stepping over” them?
  • How many relationships were “stepped over”?
  • How many chances to quietly contemplate and plan for the future were “stepped over”?
  • How many people “step over” writing a will or planning their funeral? A tough subject to talk about in our Western culture.

Step Over.

A way of life creating piles we will eventually need to take care of, but the more piles we have the more time it will take to sort through them.

But imagine how much playtime, free time, and clear thoughts I (we?) could have if the Step Over Life disappeared altogether…

So, here’s to a new year where the “Step Over” lifestyle comes to an end, otherwise I may end up inadvertently stepping over life itself.

(note: images have been left out of this post; the original contains several images)