Watching grandchildren grow can be bittersweet when tempered by the acceleration of the speed of time that comes naturally with age. It all passes so quickly. During Jet’s last pre-school year, writing about her seemed less important that savoring every minute of our time together and now I find myself with less than a month of lazy summer days remaining to talk and cuddle, read and play, garden and walk.
During our time together, Jet has shown herself to be a natural gardener. We walk the yard, checking on the progress of the nasturtiums she grew from seeds, deadheading our daisy friends, watering the potted plants. “Look at what those bad rabbits did!” we exclaim when we spy a fresh blossom cut to the ground. When Jet’s family moved to a new house in June, she was excited about her new room, but burst into tears at the prospect of leaving her favorite tree behind. “Would you like to take a plant from Grandma’s yard to be your very own plant in your new yard?”
“Would Mommy let me?”
“Yes, I asked her before I asked you.”
“YES! You had to ask because it’s not your house didn’t you? You can do what you want in your own house, because you are in charge there, but Mommy and Daddy are in charge at our house.”
“That’s right. Which plant do you think you might like?”
“The purple ones!”
“The iris? That’s a good choice. I think they will do well in your yard, and I know a place we can plant them. You have to remember though, the iris are done for now. After we move them, they won’t bloom again until next year. The leaves are going to turn brown and they might look like they died.”
“I know! But they will come back next year, right?”
“Right.” Jet prefers perennials because they always come back in the spring, but she appreciates annuals for their sudden infusion of color. In years to come, I imagine that geraniums will remind her of me, just as they always make me think of my mother.
Jet weeded the ground with gusto in preparation for her iris friends. No child has ever pulled weeds more diligently or enthusiastically. “You’re going to be a big help to your daddy working in the yard!”
“I already am! We pulled lots and lots of weeds already!”
“Pulling weeds was one of my jobs when I was a little girl. I don’t think I liked it as much as you do… but I didn’t have my own flowers to take care of either.”
“I don’t know. I just didn’t.”
“I keep an eye on the boys too. I make sure they don’t get into trouble and tell if they do something they shouldn’t. I think Mommy and Daddy are teaching me to be their babysitter. I don’t know why they would do that, though! Why would they do that?”
I look at Jet sharply. Her advanced ability to consider possibilities sometimes leads her astray. I can see the beginnings of an idea that being a babysitter is somehow unfair. “I’m sure they are not doing that. You are too young to be a babysitter for your brothers and by they time you are old enough to be a babysitter they will not need one.”
“You know those chairs that you can push grownups around in?”
“Yes. When you and Papa get so old you can’t walk anymore, I’m gonna take care of you. I’ll push you around in one of those!”
“Well, that’s very nice of you.” Apparently I still have much to look forward to.