Therefore it makes total sense that a weekend where he and I finally managed to be in the same city for more than twelve hours, ostensibly to convene on how to deal with the angst and frustration of our aging parents and to do a little bonding, team-building, mutual support and strategizing, still had to be the best weekend of this kind ever.
The fact that he brought his youngest kid along, a six-and-a-half-year-old with a spectacular readiness for fun and an inexhaustible wealth of questions (and a great eagerness to discuss poop, and if that was played out, then vomit) truly did make it the best weekend ever (at least until next time we all manage to get together).
As a parent of teens, it was a bit like introduction to grand-parenting—time to go to the Santa Monica Pier, have lots of hamburgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, play with lego, tech-decks that my kids no longer care about and hold hands a lot while walking. Although my older kid was too mature to be bothered (at least most of the weekend), my younger one was right in there at the car museum and the tar pits, and one of the take-aways for me was that whatever the pretext, if you just madly dash around in search for what a six-year-old-would find fun you will find fun for yourself… especially if you see with six-year-old-eyes.
Still there were moments of my brother and I cooking together, playing team chess and losing to my son and his good friend, telling lots of stories and laughing a lot.
While neither myself nor my brother are particularly religious (Hebrew School was like a forced march for us), my little nephew, when asked about it at diner, said “Yes, I go to Hebrew School.” When my brother pointed out that this wasn’t actually true, my nephew said, “I go in my mind.” He also said he was changing his name to Tokyo and decided to name the stuffed animal Mammoth from the museum, “What’s my name?”
Sure incessant questions can be just a way to keep us grown-ups talking to kids, to keep us paying attention and keep us engaged—and I love those question, especially when they’re all packed into the greatest weekend ever. Six-year-olds know what they’re doing and we can learn a lot from them. Yes we have to set limits or make them anxious, but they are Buddhas of the moment, of ten-more-minutes and of joie de vivre.
So, let’s dedicate today to the wisdom of six-year-olds—to questions, and to making today, and every day, the greatest day ever—in the service of all our collective children.