I was driving down my street when I noticed a grandfather holding a wee one, about one year or so securely in his arms, facing out. It was like the baby was on a roller coaster, and Grandpa was her safety bar. She sat, securely locked and loaded ready to take in the ride.
She donned a pink floppy hat, her chubby legs resting as if she was sitting on a chair. He walked with steady steps as if wearing a human as an accessory was totally normal.
And for one moment in time, just like that song that Whitney Houston belts out in The Bodyguard (or was it the Olympics?), came a returning, a completion, a full circle manifesting in front of me.
The baby with her innate curiosity, seeking to learn/touch/absorb all of the experience. Remembering that a stroll with our girls when they were toddlers was referred to as, “Around the block in 80 days”. Rocks, dirt, bubbles, chalk, birds, butterflies, the garbage truck plugging down the street… filling senses while erasing the meaning of time.
What is time really? Especially to a sweet soul who just came to this earthly plane from The Other Side? What does time symbolize to an elder who has more years behind him than in front, and is slowly preparing for the sacred transition back from whence he came.
When you really stop and think about it, a watch/clock/timepiece is like some torture device designed solely to make sure that we arrive at the next appointment, respond to the un-responded to email, or check random things off the list.
Because then we will feel better about life/ more productive / happier (?)((??))(((!!!)))
We are so busy making tally marks of completed mundane tasks, that we simultaneously strip any wonder that may be present in our lives. We rush from one thing to the next, leaving behind sprinkles of our curiosity, like we are at a Pride Parade without a broom or a dustpan. Just pieces of us lost, never to be collected.
And so comes the Returning. The complete circle.
Babies are this concrete reminder of who we are created to be and remain while we’re here. This grandpa held his granddaughter in his clutches as if he didn’t want her to miss any of a newly released Pixar movie…not even the trailer. He bought popcorn and snacks. They were committed to leave the theater after the last credit had rolled.
Because it is the elders who hold the wisdom and patience with a gentle heart, with no rush to be anywhere. The elders understand the assignment and have little care for drama that makes absolutely no difference in the big picture. As my dad says, “I have seen most things at least once.” The elders know there are no surprises because they have seen a ton of shit go sideways, and are still here to tell the story. There is beauty in that.
The only thing that mattered to that grandpa in that moment (as I stalked him without his consent) was simply holding the baby out so she could experience the world.
Held, facing out, seeking, hungry without any sense of duty or time - staying lost in the wonder.
And if left me wondering: is there is a summer camp that offers this type of experience for grown up folks?
Because I am here for it.