“…One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind…” Thank you Neil Armstrong. Neil will always be remembered and quoted for saying this phrase when this astronaut landed on the moon. It is a phrase that can be applied to many phases of our lives. The most memorable comparison for me is when I get informed that any child has gone from crawling to walking. Yes…one small step…
I am sure you have noticed a trend in my writings regarding children. I am amazed at their tenacity. I adore their independence. I marvel at their simple wisdom. We adults oftentimes lose perspective of our lives because we have been educated. We are taught to follow certain paths in our schooling. From kindergarten to elementary school. From middle school to high school. Perhaps we have advanced to College courses or even University. Education is very important and yet I admire the free spirit of the young. Don’t get me wrong, being brought up by universal standards of quality (and the wooden spoon of “tough love”) I can now appreciate even more the wonderful open qualities of youth.
It was repugnant to me when my parents would refer to me as the “Pepsi” generation. I believed it was supposed to mean something like “you are so spoiled you don’t drink water, you drink Pepsi.” I still haven’t really figured it out, but it sounds about right. (Note: my parents never purchased name brand so that is why I assumed this was something they heard and adopted). Anyway, every generation goes through the “you have no idea what it was like when I was growing up.” To be fair to my parents, they were right. They were raised in a village with many many siblings (no, not 4 or 5…try 8 or 9). Schooling was done by grade 3 due to farming obligations. They worked hard to make their lives better and better for their children.
Wiseguy and I had started our lives in a less-than-prominent-societal situation. We fell in love (so cliche), but it was true. We moved into an apartment. No real funds. First and last month’s rent. No furniture….seriously….no furniture. A room on the 11th floor of an apartment building with a wonderful balcony. Our view of the sky was magical. There were no buildings around us. We could actually see the CN Tower in Toronto from our balcony is Mississauga (yes, that is a city in Ontario, Canada). Yes, we were that weird couple that got together for love and not money.
So, our lives as a couple began as one small step. We found each other. We became best friends. We knew that we could live as a family. We decided to throw caution to the wind and move in together. A simple one bedroom apartment. A small starter home. We married a year later. There were many doubters. There were many personal and family consequences. Again, we decided to do what we thought and believed was best for us. Many doubted. Many disbelieved. There were those beautiful few who believed in us and they are always remembered and special in our hearts.
The years have passed, sometimes feeling slow but nowadays feeling so quick. We have raised 3 beautiful children. We look at our wonderful grandchildren and I am in awe whenever I see them. I was once asked why I quiz children and “bother” them. I honestly answer, “I don’t bother them. They are smart and I LOVE hearing their answers.”
Children are magnificent! I can tell you honestly that what they think about is waaaaaay more interesting than what you have to work on at work. Their minds are agile and fresh and ingenious. You used to think like that until you got pigeonholed at school. Think the same. Act the same. Behave the same.
Yes, our world is comprised of structure and rules. I am not saying this a bad thing. However, sometimes thinking and behaving “abnormally” can be fun! Grab a box of crayons and a colouring book but DON’T colour inside the lines. Oh I know there are new colouring books for adults…very intricate and detail oriented. Your mind goes CRAZY if you colour outside the lines. Even better, get a children’s colouring book and colour a monkey purple and green and pink. Believe me, not colouring to “specific norms” will feel really weird and almost heart wrenching. I slowly got over the “brown monkey” syndrome when I coloured my monkey green and yellow and my granddaughter said, “Here, add some pink to his head.” Hmmm, sharing and good advice from the eyes from a child. Monkey can be different just like people are different.
I just received a text (yes, I am a modern Baba a.k.a. grandma in Eurospeak) that my youngest grandson took his first steps yesterday. Little “Jumpin’ Jack” will be one on May 19th so Mr. “I’m-on-the-move” has decided that there are too many adventures in life that he needs to explore and got his groove on early. Congratulations little JJ (Jumpin’ Jack!) May your new elevated levels of adventure be as fun and exciting as you hope them to be. May your bumps and bruises heal quickly. May you always know that every adventure you undertake will always start with one step at a time.