Willa Adcock has learned some valuable lessons from her grandchildren. Celebrate National Grandparents Day on Sept. 9.
When my grandson, John, was five he came to spend the day with me. He was wearing his cap with the brim turned to the back as he had seen older boys do. I said to him that I did not like caps worn backwards. He replied in earnest, “Well, if you don’t like my hat turned this way, why do you have that little fishing boy on your patio; he has his cap turned backwards”. I had never noticed that the statuette had its hat that way. Trying to come up with a plausible answer I said, “I guess he doesn’t want his hat to get in the way of his fishing pole.” I was reminded how often children are confused by us as we say one thing and do another.
Occasionally I make homemade bread; I keep a starter in a plastic bag on a table in the kitchen. My granddaughter, Rachel, who was 4 at the time, was visiting. I had my back to her. Picking up my starter, she asked, “May I squeeze your bread starter?” I turned around too late to reply. The starter was already oozing down the legs of the table all over the heart-pine flooring and into the cracks between the boards. I have never cleaned up a more time-consuming or gooey mess. Henceforth I have learned to keep the starter out of sight and out of mind of little itchy fingers.
With twenty-two for lunch one October, I was busy preparing to serve the meal. My 12 year- old grandson, Nick, asked, “Mama Willa, will you teach me how to sew on your sewing machine?” “Sometime I will”, I replied. “Please, I need you to show me now. I am making a cap, and I have to finish it today. Tomorrow night is Halloween; my friends and I are going ‘trick or treating’. We are wearing these that I copied off the internet.” All the while he was waving a paper with the picture of a hooded cap showing neatly stuffed ears.
I began making trips up the stairs to show him how to thread the machine, and how to proceed with his sewing project. Nick was meticulous about his sewing and stuffing. He stayed busy late into the evening. I was exhausted from the day of serving and checking upstairs to see how he was doing. I could only tell myself, “Who knows, he may become a tailor some day.”
My granddaughter, Grace, who is almost 13, came to use my printer to print a poem she had written for class recently. After she left, I picked up a copy she had discarded. It was written as though she were an immigrant to America. It was entitled BEAUTIFUL. I realized that she understood so much about what was happening in our country. I also learned about herown thoughts from the poem; they also were beautiful.
With two of the granddaughters, Maddie and Alex, in the car when they were 4 and 6, I found myself in Raleigh at the time of the Rodin Art Exhibit. Thinking I might not have another opportunity to see the display, I decided to stop to view a few sculptures on the lawn at the NC Museum of Art. We approached about a dozen people admiring “The Thinker”, Rodin’s most noted figure. I came up and joined the circle; the two girls came up beside me. The youngest took one look and said in a loud voice to express shame, “HE’S NAKED”! Everyone in the group burst out laughing. It never occurred to me that the stature was unclothed as it was seated and painted a glossy black. Somewhat embarrassed, I eased the two away from the crowd. I told them that sometimes artists draw or sculpt bodies this way. That was our art education for the day. Just goes to show that little ones are seeing more than we think they are. And as their grandmother, I realized that I still had a lot to learn.