Counting Words and Milestones

500 Words Challenge logo
500 Words Challenge logo

The second day of the New Year, and here I am, churning out words, mainly because I joined Jeff Goins’ 500 Words a Day Challenge for the month of January. What was I thinking? I’m already a day behind!

I’m late for a couple of reasons:

1. I didn’t know about and sign on for this challenge until last night.

2. I took my fourteen-year-old grandson out to lunch, and we did some post-Christmas shopping (he had a gift card to use), and then I dropped him off for his hitting lesson (he’s a baseball player). I had a great time. I think he did, too.

This child (dare I still call him that?) isn’t a stereotypical adolescent.

We talked. A lot.

We talked about cars. And driving, the next big milestone for him, I suppose. On the way to lunch, we passed a very old Ford Explorer parked on the side of the road not far from his house, and I kidded him, said we could probably buy that for a song and save it for when he drives.

We talked football, both college and pro. I learned that he feels bad for Eli Manning because Eli’s having a bad year.

We talked about dogs: about how great his is, and how he thinks I need one, and what kind to get.

We talked about the city where I live (he lives out in the country, sort of) and what it needs in terms of development. Very sophisticated conversation.

And then we talked family. He asked questions about what his dad was like at fourteen. “Was my dad this tall? Was he thin? What did he like to do?” I learned that he likes our big, chaotic family gatherings on holidays. He enjoys his cousins and would like to know them better. We talked about how, as they all get older, they’ll grow into a different kind of relationship. They’ll be more than cousins; they’ll be friends.

What he doesn’t realize is how quickly that time will come. He’ll be driving before we know it. Having lunch with his grandmother probably won’t be cool then. But he promised me a date in a couple of years—when he’ll be the one to pick me up and take me out to lunch.

All in all, it was a fine afternoon, a great way to start the new year. Time spent that I won’t soon forget. I hope he won’t, either.

Milestones

Grandsons in action
Grandsons / Gerry Wilson

They grow up, you see, these children and grandchildren. My sons aren’t children anymore, except in my head and heart. I hear their small voices still, calling out in the night. I hear their laughter. I hear their noisy, rowdy selves thundering down the stairs and running through the house and slamming out the back door. I hear their dueling stereos playing across the hall from each other. Now they tower over me. They wrap me in their arms with big bear hugs and kiss my cheek or the top of my head. It seems to me  they hold on a little longer this year than last, maybe because they’re old enough now to know that time goes all too fast.

The same is true of grandchildren. Mine range in age from four months to seventeen years (four teenagers)! They’re all beautiful/handsome, smart, loving, and kind. My husband and I have devoted two door facings to keeping up with their growth. This grandson had me check his height again today. There’s a bit of competition going on with his cousin who’s two years older. This one wants to outstrip the other in the height department, and he just might do it. Give him a couple of years. Give him a blink of time.

Growing up is the natural course of things; it’s what children are supposed to do; it’s what we want for them. Yet it goes too fast.

So this little piece that has now grown well beyond the 500-word target for today is a tribute to “my kids,” grown and otherwise, who make me proud. It’s also a nod to good times and to making good memories.

Because memories are important. Memories last.

My challenge to you: Recall a meaningful conversation or a rare, shared moment. What made it memorable?

14 thoughts on “Counting Words and Milestones

  1. How wonderful for you (and us!) that you accepted the writing challenge. What a beautiful and thought provoking article. And how precious of your grandson to have engaged as he did with you. Yes! Time flies! Some of my latest and favorite conversations have been with my 4yr. old students…especially the boys. They have surprised me with their level of maturity and deep thinking….in sharing their doubts and questions about their faith. Quite amazing. Can’t say as I ever saw this coming…but I love sharing my faith, seriously, with our young ones.

    1. Yes, he’s a sweetheart. But of course, they ALL are! There’s a lot to be said for simply being there and listening. Sometimes I think if we can just be quiet long enough, the other person will open up. It’s a little like asking a question in the classroom and waiting for an answer; those seconds feel like forever! I’m sure you’re wonderful with your 4 year olds. I can tell!

  2. Oh BOY, I so related to this (pun intended). My five grandsons are all 5 and under, but I can’t wait to take each of them out to lunch (as you do with your grandson) and have a conversation with them – find out what’s really going on inside their heads. I know when my son was 14, the best way to talk with him was take him for a long car ride – then he’d go on and on about ‘life.’ But at home, he was quiet and distant. So we took a lot of car rides! 🙂

    1. I used to wait up late for my boys to come in when they were teenagers. Sometimes the best chats were in the kitchen after midnight! Five under five? My goodness, how much fun is that!

  3. No fair — this one made me cry! My boys are at the thundering down the stairs stage and I keep reminding myself just this: that no matter how naughty or argumentative they could get, the day will come that I miss that thundering. You always express life’s truths so beautifully. I was so glad to read it.

    1. It made me cry a little, too (which I sometimes take to be a good sign; it means I’m tapping *something*). Just wait until your guys are taller than you! Thanks so much, Elissa. I always love it when you read and comment.

  4. Gerry, I love this post, the style of it. It reads aloud like a letter to a friend. Have you thought about writing a chapbook in this style; not one of fiction but one about these kinds of days in your life? Would you consider it? It would have definite promise, I dare say.

    If you used each day to write something like this in your 500 words, by the end of the month, you’d have that chapbook all finished, polished, and ready for submission. 🙂 Just a nudge, nothing more.

    1. Claudsy, I know prose chapbooks exist for fiction, but are you thinking more of an inspirational memoir? Thank you so much! That’s such a nice compliment! Maybe we should DM a bit about this idea.

      1. Gerry, I think you’ve hit on the style of chapbook I’m thinking of. In this particular post, for instance, the style engaged a reader who’s a non-parent.

        When I can be drawn into a piece, having nothing to do with my normal reading preference, enjoy it completely, and want to read more, I’ve found an effective and entertaining writer.

        That’s what this post provided for me. If you’d like to talk more about it, please drop me a DM on FB. We can set up a chat time to go over the idea. That’s a great idea.

        Have a terrific weekend.

  5. Lovely piece, Gerry.
    I’ve been blessed with many a memorable moment shared with family and friends. When people let their guard down — giggling until they are crying or opening up to expose their vulnerabilities — those are the times I treasure. I get to look back and say, “Yes. That was the moment my soul connected with another.”
    The sweet memories are flooding back as I write this. Thank you.

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