Monday, April 14, 2014

Conversations With Chloe

Yesterday I visited my mother.  My granddaughter, Chloe, went with me.  On the way to Chloe’s home after our visit I told her that my mother was 84 years old.  She looked at me and said, “Wow, she’s really good at living”.  This made me laugh and I thought it was a great way to look at aging.  Even though the general population is getting older, thanks to the baby boomers, our culture is usually obsessed with youthfulness.  I think it is a good thing when people, especially children, experience multiple generations.  Most people's perceptions of aging are changing.  There are approximately 75,000,000 baby boomers and for the most part we are kicking and screaming against pre-conceived notions of how older people should act.  Sometimes when I have the music cranking, and I am jumping around while playing air guitar, I think “I shouldn’t be do this.  I’m 63 years old”.  Then I keep on doing it.  After my conversation with Chloe yesterday I now realize it one small way I try to be good at living.  We had other interesting conversations over the weekend.  Sunday morning her stomach hurt a little but after going to the bathroom she felt better.  This led to a discussion about what poop really is.  After I explained it to her she said, “Paw Paw, you are like a teacher and a scientist”.  One question that really caught me off guard, however, was when she asked me why people commit suicide.  I explained that as best and as delicately as I could.  All of these Chloe questions and conversations are part of the reason I love being a grandfather.  Sometimes the questions are tough and I choose my words carefully but I think such conversations are what the old should be having with the young.  I am not just a guy who sits on the floor and plays games or who takes her to the movies.  Part of my role is to help my granddaughter understand the complexities of life.  No matter what she asks I always tell her the truth as best I can.  I don't try to BS her.  She is getting older, smarter, and more perceptive by the day.  I love being with her.  It keeps me on my toes.         

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