Every parent has observed their kids go through developing “awareness stages”. I think the earliest stages from the “self absorbed, right now” to a dawning awareness of a past, present and future existence is sometimes one of the most interesting to witness.
One such moment occurred on Labor Day this month. The family was over for backyard BBQ and swimming at our house. The grandkids are always excited for the chance to go swimming when they come over. Of our four grandkids, Paige a 1st grader was excitedly bouncing up and down waiting for Dad to get changed into swim shorts to go swimming.
It was then that she had one of those “awareness” moments…
Paige: Papa? Why do you have a pool in the backyard?
GrandPa: Lots of people have pools in the backyard. (I later checked Google satellite maps to verify that about 20% of the homes in our California neighborhood have backyard pools)
Paige: Why don’t we have one in our backyard!
GrandPa: But, you used to have a pool in your backyard, Paige
Stunned silence… A quick glance at Dad confirmed that Papa isn’t just kidding around like he sometimes does. I could almost hear the thought processes in the transparent facial expressions as my granddaughter digested this earth shattering bit of newly revealed information:
(…“WHAT!!?? Mommy and Daddy had a real swimming pool in our yard! You mean we could be going swimming every day we wanted just by walking out the back door instead of only once in a while when mommy has to get my brother and me ready to drive to the cabana club to swim? Where did it go?)
Paige: “We did?” looking suspiciously at Dad standing nearby.
I could see her visualizing the backyard swing set, sandbox and the lush green lawn where her puppy likes to run and “do his business”.
Paige: “Where is it now?”
Dad explained that before she was born, they decided that the pool wasn’t safe for little babies and puppies to fall into so they had it taken out.
This led into more questions about “how” it was removed (they buried it). “What did it look like” (deep end is under the swing set and steps are under one end of the lawn). If I dig under the swing, will I fall into the water?” (No, they dug holes in bottom to let the water out and filled it with dirt). The questions continued until everyone else was ready to go out and swim.
I look forward to more “light bulb” moments from all four of my grandkids. While I wish it could last a bit longer before the “surly teen years” to enjoy, I know it will pass far too quickly.
Now I wonder when (or most likely “IF”) I should reveal to my youngest grandson (currently 18 months) the story of his father jumping off a bridge with bungee cords wrapped around his feet without telling us.