Sunday, January 11, 2015

Through A Fresh Set of Eyes (Lessons Learned from Liam)

Like I hope many of you did, I took the last two weeks of 2014 to relax, refresh, and recharge. I tried to be very disciplined in not getting swept up in work. Having our kids and grandkids with us for a good chunk of the time helped me to keep that focus. Let me just say that I am thoroughly enjoying being a grandparent. Time with the four grandkids, collectively and individually, has taught me many things. A recent trip to the beach with two year-old Liam was another learning opportunity.

As we arrived at the beach, he reminded me it was windy and that he would need his hat, mittens, and puffy coat. He had on his boots because there was water to explore. It’s important to be prepared for whatever you might encounter.

We started walking and it didn’t take long before Monna (Liam’s word for my wife) and Banjo (our overly energetic Springer Spaniel) were far ahead of us, shortly followed by his Mom and Dad. As the gap between the rest of the group and the two of us increased Liam was not concerned. There were too many things on the beach, on the logs, with the ducks, and in general that he didn’t want to miss. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

As the others doubled back to connect with us and make plans for the rest of the day and the subsequent couple of days before they were to return to their home, Liam was unconcerned. He was in the moment and holding a clamshell to his ear telling me he could hear the ocean that was three feet away. Today counts so take the time to enjoy each moment.

We stopped to sit on some of the big logs and have a snack. Two year-olds don’t have the same sitting needs of older folks and Liam was off to explore. We watched him walk off three or four feet away and then he fell down in the sand. He lay prone for a bit and didn’t make a sound. I decided to see what was up. As I approached him I saw he had a little stone in each hand and that he was fascinated by them. “Poppa, help me up”, he said. He didn’t want to let go of the stones in trying to get up solo. They were deluxe treasures that he needed to show the group and keep. Hold onto what’s important.

As I contemplate this post, Liam is singing “Hey Jude”.  He knows all the lyrics and sings with such joy.  His favorite part is where Paul McCartney screams out “Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Judy, yeaheaheah”, and he hits all of the notes. I have always enjoyed the song and tried to analyze it for the deeper meaning. I’m not sure Liam knows what many of the words mean but I do know I’ve never enjoyed the song more. Sometimes the meaning isn’t important, just enjoy the experience.

None of the words in bold represent new lessons or things I wasn’t aware of. I’m grateful to my grandson for showing me the old through a fresh set of eyes. As I start off another year, I am going to remind myself to look at things as if I’m seeing them for the first time. I know it’s going to produce new enjoyment of old things.

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