Oooey-Gooey Goodness or just Ewww-Yuck?
In a last minute hurry, I threw together the makings of an awesome play date picnic.
I should have warned my daughter there might be messes.
The scent of linen dryer sheets filled the air as I spread the quilt across the concrete picnic table. Most grandmas carry practical things like tissues, baby wipes and bribing suckers, but not me.
I showed up at the Louise Hays park with the succulent centerpiece in a jar, because I am especially fond of picnics with fried chicken, watermelon, and portable nature.
We read through a few of Saydee’s favorite books, The Adventurers and I’m a Hungry Dinosaur. Together, we looked through High Five and found the baseball bat, moon and fish. Saydee found the fish all by herself. She’s getting really good at the hidden pictures, and has started to figure out there is almost always something hiding in the hair.
After a while, she decided to conquer the large playscape and climbed to the top via the route of the side stairs, the ones that move upwards in a steep, circular pattern. I noticed that she kept climbing that way, instead of taking the regular steps to get to the slide. Every kid knows that the regular steps are the most boring way to get to the top. They have already mastered climbing the stairs and new skills are necessary.
Even in adult world, it’s the stretching and pulling, the strategic climbing that keeps an extra spring in our steps.
“Hold on Grammy.”
“Nope. You can do it.”
“Nope!” I smiled.
And that’s when the giggling began. Quickly, she climbed to the next step and leaned way back, I panicked and lurched forward to catch her.
She laughed some more.
At the top, after she brought one foot after the other and landed safely on the platform, she yelled, “I did it!”
“Yes, you did!”
It was time for a treat.
In addition to the perfect plant in a jar, I brought our portable wooden s’more maker. Okay, seriously. Who knew that the jelly in a jar stuff could be caught on fire by the heat of the sun’s rays? I did not. And I burned my finger. I couldn’t see the flame, but I could feel the distinct singing of my skin. Duh. An open can of Sterno on a 90-degree day can be dangerous, or somewhat adventurous I suppose, depending on how you want to look at it.
We roasted our marshmallows and poured the sun melted Hershey’s bar over the top and squished them together between two graham crackers. I suggested Saydee ask the other children at the playground if they wanted some, and this began her early childhood sales skill of hawking on the sidewalk.
She cupped one hand around her mouth like a homemade megaphone and started shouting and waving her arms, “S’mores here! Come and get your s’mores! Hey kids! Come and get your s’mores!” I was so proud. One 4-year-old boy and his grandma from Arizona showed up for some ooey-gooey goodness and we got to talking.
Sometimes I carry a brown paper bag filled with colored pencils around. We stamped the words, Make every day a story worth telling on the outside. The truth is, there are some parts of our days that are not worth telling, but we still find ourselves repeating them over and over. They are not stories that give life or bring joy, they are the kind that leaves us with a looming feeling of sadness or despair.
I’m trying harder to recognize this as I tell my own stories. Our lives are best lived when we are like children. I want s’more of that kind.
We are at our best when we live with childlike enthusiasm, ready to climb new paths, learn new skills and make every moment worth living, sharing and telling others about. We may end up with messy, sticky marshmallow hiding in our hair, but I still think it’s way better than a life of hiding out, void of adventure and excitement.