Friday, March 28, 2014

Five Things Friday -- a Nana's Five Things . . .

And before I start listing my Five Friday Things, a big Thank You to Grechen for mentioning my Spring Navy post today on Draped Garments and Fit and Shape . . . and Navy! -- and welcome to any readers who are visiting from Grechen's Closet.

It's been so busy since our big girl (oldest daughter) took our little girl (oldest granddaughter, 5) back home last Sunday that our week of active grandparenting feels a bit distant. Or perhaps that's just because we opened an email to a photo of Little Girl laughing on a Hawaiian beach, and we know she's living in a different season than us right now. . .

But when I slow down for a moment, especially if I'm sitting with a cup of tea, I remember

1. Overhearing a quiet conversation between a large plastic dinosaur (a stegosaurus that our son manipulated through some very active conversations 25 or so years ago) and a small stuffed bear. The conversation took place on the floor in the midst of wooden blocks cut and sanded by Little Girl's Granddad 30+ years ago, a patina of floor dirt worn into the pine by little children's play-sweaty hands and probably a smidge of peanut butter here and there, some felt marker graffiti in 3-year old scrawl. The gentle chat between Steg and Bear was punctuated by occasional forays of glossy primary-coloured Brio train cars chugging their way along lengths of track also decorated by graffiti in a language no one here reads anymore. Although I do wonder if Little Girl intuited some of the meaning and worked it into the story she was living with stegosaurus and bear. I was very careful not to interrupt and ask. The conversation was conducted at a decibel level that made it very clear it was private. . .

2. Sitting on the patio by the beach with Little Girl, her Granddad, and my twin 13-year-old nieces in the gathering dusk of a mixed-weather day. We made the most of that mixed weather, grabbing 90 minutes of cloudy-mixed-with-sunshine to imagine summer. Granddad built a fire in the big Copper firepan -- there's a name for it, perhaps Turkish?, but the box it came in is long gone, and I can't remember.  We roasted hot dogs, then marshmallows. One niece burnt hers deliberately, gleefully, then peeled the charcoal skin off and burnt her tongue slurping up the gooey inner sweetness. The other niece turned hers ever so slowly until they reached the tawny perfect colour.  Little Girl observed both approaches but let Granddad roast hers.

And while she waited, she looked at the ocean's vanguard just a few metres away from us on the beach below the patio. Logs were shifting lazily in the moderately high tide, and gentle waves tickled sand that only gets wet twice a day. There's a special calm that comes at high tide, if the weather's quiet. Somehow you can feel the achievement of water getting to where it's supposed to, relaxing, staying for a moment or two before gently heading in the other direction. Perhaps Little Girl felt this. At any rate, she looked up at me and said, "Did the tide just come in all the way? I've never seen this before at your house, Nana. This is the first time I was here for High Tide."

Of course, she's been here often enough for high tide before, but she's right about it being a first time. It's the first time she's been so observant and articulate about high tide. She's turning a different eye on the natural world (and, indeed, on all aspects of the world) these days. I'm still calling her Little Girl, but her powers are gathering. I'm probably going to need another name. . . .

3.  Watching her become a stronger cyclist by the day. Last year, we bought a bike for her to keep on the island. She's ridden confidently since she was four (No training wheels needed if you start with a glider bike at 2 or 3 so that balance is established before pedalling), but the island's hills have been a challenge -- those little bikes have no helpful gears! Over her week here, though, she got off to walk her bike over fewer and fewer sections until by the end of the week, she made it all the way to the boat cycling proudly. Almost as proud as her Nana and Granddad.

4. Teaching her to knit. In, around, under, and off, we chanted together. Over and over and over as we moved the needles through those actions, her snuggled into my lap, my arms guiding her until the pattern became decipherable to her, my fingers suggesting better positions for hers, her fingers deciding whether that adjustment was acceptable. Our first session lasted almost an hour; she was fascinated to see the rows accumulate into the possibility of a someday scarf for Mah, her favourite stuffy. The second day, with the novelty worn off, the sessions were shorter, but I was pleased to see that she remembered what to do without any prompting. She's far from knitting independently, of course, but even if she never ends up with the habit, I loved those hours recreating a pose and a chant that I've sat in before, as the five-year old, being taught by my own mother, and as a Mother guiding my four, in turn and at different ages, through the stitches.

5. And perhaps since I'm trying to catch a yoga class and really had better get moving, you'll let me stretch #4 into #5 with a photo of a Little Girl's Knitting.

Now I'd better run! Happy Friday! As usual, you know I'd love your comments. Tell me what you're up to this weekend. Tell me if you share similar Nana-Grandchild memories. Can you remember when you first noticed the Ocean (or some other part of the Universe) doing something you'd never observed before? Have you marvelled at how easily little ones learn to ride bikes these days? I'm listening . . . .

16 comments:

  1. My nana taught me to knit when I was a Brownie. I haven't progressed very far in all these years. We used to spend days at White Rock watching the pools and the sand bars come and go. I'll check out Gretchen's Closet.

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    1. White Rock was so different then, wasn't it? I was out there last summer and it's become so very busy!

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  2. What lovely memories for the young 'uns in your family, they are so lucky to have access to a place like your island home. I guess my mum must have taught me how to knit, I don't remember any more.

    We plan to go see The Grand Budapest Hotel this weekend, along with a visit to Ikea - we have to go out of town for both.

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    1. I want to see that movie -- next time we get to Vancouver, I guess. And we're due to visit Ikea for some kitchen reno fairly soon . . . .enjoy your weekend!

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  3. I manage with nieces, nephews, and toddlers belonging to young friends.

    My primary memory of my grandmother is the clink of the ice in her pre-dinner drinks glass. Had in the "garden room." Not so much snuggling.

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    1. So many young friends would be glad to have their little ones enjoy our company occasionally -- smart to take reciprocal advantage!

      That's a strong image of your grandmother -- I can hear the ice. . . I'm not sure my maternal grandmother ever drank at all; I think I'll have to ask my uncle, her only surviving child, while he's still around to tell . . . surprising how many of these questions have cropped up since mom died last year.

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  4. Oh my yes, I remember my grandmothers very well, and your story about knitting with your granddaughters brought back more memories. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was eight. We knit granny squares, then sewed them together to make a doll's blanket. Then she showed me how to crochet a border around the edge. I still have that little blanket in my sewing room. Must post a picture of it one day. Memories of grandparents are very special and your granddaughter sounds like lucky little girl.

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    1. Do post a photo of that blanket -- the special times and memories that are compressed in each stitch. . . .

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  5. Nana moments are the sweetest. I've just been sitting here, staring off into space after reading your post, thinking about my little grandgirlies (and boy, now). The eldest is three and I'm loving conversations with her. I smile at how articulate and curious she is becoming. The second will be two in June and her vocabulary astounds me, along with her recognition of the letters of the alphabet. Little six-week-old boy is just a delight to hold and we're beginning to coax a smile or two from him.
    Grandparenting allows me to marvel at growth, intelligence and personality in an involved, yet detached way that's so very different from parenting.
    We've had two weekends with guests, so this weekend will be quieter. Hoping to get out into the yard and accomplish a few things, go to a dinner with fellow boaters on Saturday and generally hang around together.

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    1. It's the loveliest perspective, isn't it? I too love the distance that makes the intimacy more precious. So lucky to have them this close, aren't we?!

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  6. Ohhh; just nothing more to say. Ohhhh. Just the most delicious times.

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  7. My Nana taught me to knit and also to crochet and embroider. I taught my daughter to knit when she was about 6, and she's managed to create various wobbly scarves for her toys and herself over the years, but has just started her first jumper (sweater). This week I taught her to crochet so that she could use those skills for an Art project for school - she took to it incredibly quickly and was very proud of the amazing bag she made (from cut up garments belonging to every family member). I'm hoping one day I'll have grandchildren to teach these things to ...

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    1. Somehow I'd forgotten about embroidering with my grandmother, until you wrote this -- I remember pillow slips we'd iron transfers onto and then getting to choose from the luscious colours of embroidery floss.
      So cool that your daughter's making an actual sweater. I suspect that will really hook her into the craft. And the crocheted bag?! Fantastic! It feels good to pass the skills along, torch-like, no?

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  8. You are so patient! I tried to teach M (who won't learn anything from me, ever) and it was a disaster.

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  9. Oh, such a delicious post, I just want to curl in a chair and snuggle and remember so many happy moments.

    My grandmother taught me to crochet, but I was older; I don't recall early lessons. I think they had more trouble getting me to sit still...

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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