The sun was like a hot brick of molten gold, slowly pouring itself out of a faultless blue sky.
In other words, it was really hot, much hotter than is usual for the month of May where such benevolent heat from the sun is usually doled out in stingy little amounts.
I was surprised, but not unpleasantly so. I admired my daughter’s cool wrap-around sunglasses, momentarily wishing they were wrapped around my eyes protecting my very undesigner-like crows feet from taking over my whole face like a horrifying maze.
But, they weren’t and I quickly made the choice, no doubt the correct one, not to waste time lamenting the fact that I had no sunglasses. I chose, instead to mentally check off ‘feel the warmth of the sun,’ on my mental gratitude list.
Sometimes, but not always, I’m mature like that and can flip my thoughts on a dime.
On a bad day, however, I might not be so quick to do the gratitude thing and find myself coveting those darn sunglasses all day.
But, not today!
Today, it was relatively easy to slip up the illusive sliding scale of happiness to pretty close to the top simply because of the little people I had in my company.
I was with three little boys, all of whom call me grandma, except for the baby, of course. The baby has only just turned one, and doesn’t call me anything as of yet, but I know that he knows I am his grandma because when I pick him up he puts his little arms around my neck and buries his head in my shoulder and then he pats me.
Would he do that to just any grandma like person? I think not!
Anyway, the children, the children’s mom and me, the grandma were all at the children’s festival in Calgary.
We came for the day, so my daughter packed lightly. Three car seats, one stroller, diapers, wipes, hats, jackets, lunch, sippy cups, snacks, extra shorts, sunscreen, bug spray, sandals, three movies, juice boxes, blankets, colouring books, crayons, music and, of course, the three boys!
I looked at it all and was amazed.
My daughter glanced at the rear view mirror and saw that her little world was in order and put the wheels of her SUV in motion. The older boys were watching a movie and the baby was placidly sucking his soother. The howls and wails which would erupt from his tiny self would not come until we were fooled into thinking he would simply nod off to sleep like little dolls and good babies do by the motion of the moving vehicle.
He did not!
We had hardly gotten underway when my daughter’s phone beeped. “You forgot your purse,” her hus- band texted.
“Oh, I did not,” she said somewhat haughtily! “It’s in that bag under the strawberries and the juice boxes and the books and the diapers.”
“Of course,” I murmured. “That’s where I’d put it, for sure.”
We drove. The baby howled and only quit crying when grandma practically stood on her head to retrieve his soother from the last place he had thrown it.
Ha, ha, ha! Grandma’s funny! I thought longingly of the gym where I only had to perform sit-ups and leg lifts and pushups. Easy stuff!
But, of course, right on cue, the baby quit crying as soon as the wheels stopped turning and he was lifted out of his car seat.
It turned out to be a day complete with generous helpings of fun, laughter and happy sun burst sur- prises. Later, we sat at an outdoor café having supper. The sun, still warm on our skin, was fading into the softness of twilight.
It was then, in the falling shadows, that I saw her. She wore blue jeans and her shoulder length dark hair was pulled into a careless ponytail. A little boy, one hand on the stroller, trotted along beside her. An old man, dirty and unshaved, watched them, his face full of longing and sadness.
“You are so lucky,” he said to the young woman, who dismissed him and his words with a polite smile.
The image fades and I’m back in the present, but just for a moment I remembered the old man and his words.
I was young, then, too young. I really didn’t get it!
But I do now!