By G.E. Shuman

I spend many weekday evenings with my wonderful 19-month-old granddaughter. We have a great time together and, as the father of five and grandfather of twelve, (plus great granddad of one), I can tell you that THIS child is able to test the abilities of a tired adult, and the ability of a house to remain on its foundation, like none other I have known.

My granddaughter is a very sweet child. She loves her Grammy and me, and hugs and smiles abound whenever we are with her. She is also something else. She is the most active little girl I have ever seen. From the moment she arrives at our house, until the moment she leaves, she leaves nothing untouched that can be reached by those little hands. She’s funny and fun to watch and to just be with, and she makes our lives interesting and challenging. Being with her may not keep us young, as some might say, but it does keep us happy.

I recently sat on one of the couches and traced an imaginary red line around the room, hallway, and other front room of the house, thinking of how we have moved things up, and further up, out of the reach of those hands as she has grown. (Don’t ask me how the imaginary line was red. It just was.) Fortunately, very recently, efforts at ‘child-proofing’ our house have lessened a bit, as she is just learning that some things are a no-no because we don’t want her touching them, not just because they are physically out of reach. The dials on the kitchen stove are an example of that, as are Papa’s coffee mug and Grammy’s phone. (She uses my phone all the time because I’m ‘Super Papa.’) I know, not much consistency there. Oh well.

It then came to mind, as I watched this beautiful child testing one or two of those off-limits things, all the while smiling and staring right into my eyes, that most of us adults do exactly the same thing. We test the limits of what our conscience, our faith, our bodies, or even the law will allow, all the time smiling and staring those things in the eye. We do things that are not allowed, not good for us, or even dangerous for our health, and just keep on smiling as we do. We outstretch a hand to take whatever risky thing we want to have or do, gambling that we are above it all as we stare right into the possibility of terrible consequences. Doesn’t this seem silly? Then, sillier still, we expect wiser behavior than that from even a very small child.

I have often said that I can resist anything but temptation. That comment is supposed to be sort of a joke, but every good joke contains a grain of truth. Lately, I have slipped and fallen occasionally, as I try to break a few negative habits of my own. I do intend to succeed in my efforts to make some changes and live a healthier life.

I’m going to be here to watch that wonderful little girl grow up.

The Sturbridge Times Town & Country Living Magazine


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