Generations

This week past, Bridget and Scott moved house and I went North for a couple of days to help them. My job was to watch the kids while the boxes of stuff were taken out of the old house and transported about 30 km to the new one. So, Friday I loaded Ada (1) and Noah (3) into the car and took them off for a few hours. It's not the first time I've ever spent an extended period alone with a couple of toddlers, but the last time was thirty something years ago. This time won't be the last, so I'd better get in some training. A surprising amount of time was spent lifting a 12 kg weight and a 22 kg one, not so much dead weight as live, and sometimes willfully opposed weight. And the amount of continuous attention  required made it a very rewarding day for my spiritual development.

We went shopping. To Michael 10 - that's the big orange place quite near to Rolleston which has got lots of bits of wood and sticks and stuff. We went to parks. Noah walked along the top of a low wall, arms extended. I'm balancing Pappa. It's quite tricky.
Do you think I could have a go, Noah?
No Pappa, you're too big and you're very very old. 
We went to cafes. Coffee is disgusting Pappa. Fluffies are delicious. Why don't you have a fluffy?  I fed Ada a small cube of lolly cake and then another and another and I realised that she wasn't swallowing them when a huge sticky ball dribbled out of her mouth and down her shirt. I came home feeling I had done a pretty exacting workout, tired but sure of the appropriateness of this way of living.

There's an evolutionary oddity we humans share with no other species, and that is that women survive for decades after their fertility ceases. The reason for this is so obvious: in a society as complex as human society there is a need for grandparents. In fact there is a need for all manner of adults who are not parents themselves but who contribute to the raising of children. "It takes a village to raise a child". On Friday I reveled in taking my part in this little village.

I got home mid afternoon when Ada was finally starting to vocalise her disappointment at being so far and so long from the centre of the universe. The centre of the universe and her consort had managed to get the major furniture in place, fill the cupboards and get the kids' bedrooms looking welcoming. The two of them had had a few hours to enjoy, alone, this lovely house they have planned for so long and built so carefully. I unbuckled the seat belts yet again, went inside with my mokos, delivered them gratefully back to their parents, and sat on the new sofa by the new  logburner and had a beer. Then I started on the next of my grandfatherly duties: assembling a flat pack bed. A gym workout, an exercise in the development of awareness and a major jigsaw puzzle, all in one day! 

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