Oohs and ahs, giggles and gaffaws punctuated the curiosity driving both grandchildren closer and closer to the edge.
"Stay away from the edge," I cautioned, doing battle with old rivals, curiosity and safety.
The two concepts have always been diametrically opposed, at least since parenting became part of the picture.
"Two more minutes," I added, checking the depth of the water as I considered the odds one or the other (or both) might get a little over zealous.
Please, Lord, not on my watch!
If I was a betting (wo)man, I'd have put my money on Grant taking a tumble. At 6, he was all boy, as in ready and willing at any and every moment to engage the world full throttle. Grace's unabashed adoration of her big brother simply encouraged his lead. The bottom line: they were both good swimmers.
Two minutes turned into ten as the golden glow of the last vestiges of a perfect fall day gave way to a wave of nostalgia. According to the family albums and the same familiar features shared by at least four generations of women, time was doing a loop-de-loop.
"If you don't quiet down," one or the other of our parents would warn from the front seat, "we'll leave the drive-in NOW."
More giggles, although the nervous variety once we'd determined we'd exhausted our allotment of three warnings, one for each child. My brother, six years younger than me, hadn't yet arrived to be part of the family fun.
It's not that my childhood was perfect. I crossed the threshold of adulthood with baggage in hand, same as most. Fortunately extra airline fees don't apply. I just pick and choose my nostalgic moments, same as most.
Do I want to go back? Not really. I'm content with living vicariously through every one of my eight adorable grandchildren. Life with them in the lead is obviously grand; and bittersweet.
Each pivotal moment shared is a reminder that life inevitably means loss; and that time continues to carry each of us irrevocably into the future, into the next chapter and the next and the next. My story just happens to be closer than most (with the exception of my father) to "The End."
To every season there is a purpose, and a time for every purpose. . . . Ecclesiastes 3: 1.
For now, time has seen fit to cast me as talisman for my children and their children; I'm proof that every season has meaning, every person, whatever the season, has value.
My take-away that afternoon, courtesy of my grandchildren?
Love life, embrace the moment, create joy; and live life on the edge every now and then.
And by the way; no children were harmed/got wet in the making of this nostalgic moment.
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