"Not Missing Out" By: Cheryl Hughes
I saw my friend, Cathy Wallace, recently. Before she and her husband, Gary, moved to Glasgow to be near their grandchildren, they lived next door. She has a granddaughter she spends a lot of her time with, in the same way I spend my time with my granddaughter, Sabria. Cathy and her granddaughter dress up as princesses and ride around in their carriage—a golf cart—searching for handsome princes. We talked about how important those pretend moments are to us, and how we ignore those around us who say things like, “She should learn to play by herself and not drag you into everything.” We agreed that we are the ones who are NOT missing out on life. Far from being drug into anything, we are willing participants in our granddaughters’ childhood capers. We are experiencing little snippets of time that will last as long as we are alive.
On Labor Day last week, Sabria came to visit. “Why aren’t you at work?” she asked.
“Labor Day is a holiday and our shop is closed,” I said.
“We need to dye eggs and hide them,” she said, “That can be our craft for today.” (Sabria is a big fan of crafts. She was disappointed the week before when we didn’t have any plastic cups for her binocular idea.) I always keep lots of extra stuff, so I found some Easter egg dye and let her put it into cups while the eggs boiled. When the eggs were dyed and dried, Sabria and her Papa and I hid and hunted eggs. (We might have a new Labor Day tradition.)
The next day was my birthday, and Sabria wanted to stay another night, so her mama brought her back over after Garey and I got off work. I made chili that morning before I left the house, so Sabria decided to take our food to the tree house, where she put our bowls of chili on her pretend stove then served it to me when it was done. “Here, Daughter,” she said, “Do you want crackers?”
“Yes, Mother,” I responded. We ate our chili then played until dark with our fighting sticks, Wonder Woman swords and Womping Willow tree branches. It was a wonderful birthday!
Sabria is great at incorporating the things around her into our play time. The rock pile near Garey’s shop at the bottom of the hill is an ice castle. The big log with the flat surface is our boat. There are empty plastic barrels that come from our business that are horses. The large white barrel is Sabria’s horse, Snowflake; the big blue barrel is my horse, Sven; and the small white barrel is Emily, Snowflake’s daughter. We do a lot of riding, with Emily tagging along behind her mama, Snowflake. One of my favorite images is watching Sabria’s golden curls bounce around her face as she bounces up and down on her barrel.
One day, Garey needed something to catch the oil he was draining from his tractor. He decided to cut the small plastic barrel in half to use as a receptacle. “You can’t cut that barrel in half!” I cried, “That’s Emily, Snowflake’s daughter.” Garey didn’t even ask, he just found something else. Thank God, I was there. I could never have explained to Sabria why Emily was in two pieces.
Before I tell you the next story, you need to realize Sabria has no political party affiliation. She has no idea what either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton stands for; she is, however, a big fan of women in power.
We were having a tea party in her tree house when the following conversation took place.
“So, madam,” Sabria said, in her most impressive British accent, “Have you heard the latest news from the election?”
“No, madam,” I said, “What has happened?”
“Donald Trump was fired and Hillary Clinton is our new president,” she said, “She is the first girl president in U.S. history.”
I’m never going to make Sabria play by herself. There is no way I want to miss out on moments like that one.