Grandparents pass on lots of things. Some of the things have laid in drawers and cabinets or on shelves and are lovely, and have a historical family meaning, and are lovely and meaningful.
Chances are, the grandchild will put those objects on shelves.
I have a few of those things that I will leave behind when I exit, stage left.
But those are just things. And most things, even with history, don’t change a person.
One of my grandsons stayed the night, Saturday. He is twelve. He will be a teenager next February.
These years before, there is no doubt that I have loved him, and watched him grow. But now is the time I see my work with him as just beginning.
What I want to leave my grandchildren with, is a joy of finding passions, enjoyments, learning and self expression. Since they were little, the two grandchildren who live near me, have had their own drawing journals. We have fooled with drawing and art. When my granddaughter did a cool painting, I copied it and had a print for her bedroom wall. Made. I had fabric made with one of my grandson’s designs. I want them to see the bigger picture of what they can do.
I did the same when I lived in Ohio and had my grandchildren over We headed downstairs to the art room. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that with my youngest granddaughter, and distance makes it out of reach for them now. I miss having that opportunity.
But Saturday, my grandson and I worked on one of the big joys in my life, and I think a growing hobby of his.
Last summer, I took my grandson to Anne Springs Greenway, a beautiful nature area, in Fort Mill, SC. I gave him a camera to use and I had one. I gave him a few pointers and off we went. I watched as he walked along. I could tell he was framing pictures in his Ming. He’d stop and squat and shoot. I could see him doing what I longed for him to do … see the world in a different way.
I took photos, too. but mostly, I was interested in watching him. What joy.
This weekend we walked in my yard and garden and he went from plant to plant and snapped. I taught him about F-stops and depth of field and filling the frame, honing in and using natural objects as frames.
After an afternoon of taking photos and watching a butterfly enjoy a zinnia for a long time, I download his photos to my iPad and we got to see the world through his eyes.
Later that evening, when we were outside, again, I taught him to look for things to photograph that weren’t as obvious as a beautiful flower. I showed him the beauty and art of photographing all stages of a flower’s life. Look for what people miss. Seek out the shot. Look at the world through a mindset that sees something interesting in most everything. Look for the story.
And that is what he did.
He mentioned that it was interesting how I painted and then made felt and baked and now do flowers. I think he wondered why I did this, but didn’t ask. So I took that opportunity to tell him why I did this.
I told him I do a lot of different things because I have a curios nature. There is a finite amount of time to live, really live, and pursue interests. I mentioned that I like to get involved with different aspects of life, master them to a certain degree, and then transfer what I have learned, to the next project. It keeps me engaged with life, I said.
Instead of him looking at me like I had three heads and four ears, I think he got it. I think that he understood a bit more about me, and in the process, learned something about himself, and life. All of these things are here for the learning. And if you look at life and the world with curiosity, you will not be bored.
I made chicken tenders for dinner and we had fresh peaches and peanut M&Ms. We ended our Erving watching Bot Wars. I love Bot WArs. We tried to decide what names we would give ourBot and how we would build it.
Sunday morning, we were up early and hit the Dunken Donuts before heading to the shore of Lake Wylie. When I asked if he wanted to eat his donuts at Dunken, or go to the lake, he said, “Let’s go to the lake and catch the early sun.”
I smiled. I had taught him well.
When I showed him my blog, he asked if I would use his photos. Of course. So this morning, the photos are by CJ. And I share them proudly and with a smile on my face.