Who Will I Be In 10 Years?

SAM with Lucie and Ben
Yesterday KUOW’s All Things Considered had a feature called You Can’t See It But You’ll Be A Different Person In 10 Years.  http://www.kuow.org/post/you-cant-see-it-youll-be-different-person-10-years . I’m sure other listeners had the same reaction I did. Can that be true? Can I marshal any evidence to refute the claim? The theory underlying the study is that most of us believe that we, as adults, are pretty much established as personalities and that it is unlikely that we will change much in the future.  I certainly believe that, and so did the Harvard researchers who conducted the study, but the evidence they gathered showed that people continue to change in unanticipated ways and that although we think we are the same as we were in the past we are not the same people we were 10 years ago and we are unlikely to be the same as we are now 10 years in the future.

I can generalize about some changes in my life; I don’t have a paid position now, so I have more time to pursue outside interests; I’m not as fast or strong as I used to be, I have less hair on my head and more in my nose and ears, and I’ve shifted my aerobic focus from running to biking and swimming. I also have 4 grandchildren and 6 step-grandchildren, all but 2 of whom are new in the last 10 years. So, now I have grandparent days. That’s a big change for me.

Yesterday Marilynn and I had a grandparent day. We were called to duty when Heidi, who works at home, had a deadline and needed parenting relief for a few hours. One of the good things about not punching a clock or going to an office is that we can respond to a call like that. And – we adore these two kids – Lucie (5) and Ben (almost 3). It’s not a burden to spend time with these guys. Here’s Lucie:
Lucie at VPC 2
See what I mean?

I wasn’t close to my grandparents. I hardly knew them. They lived 1000 miles away. That’s true for most of my own grandchildren, but Ben and Lucie are right here and I love figuring out how to amuse and spoil them.

Yesterday we started out at Starbucks – it’s important to get a little hot chocolate and sugary scone in them for fuel. They both love S’Buck’s Petite Vanilla Scones, so we pumped them up with a couple each and fortified ourselves with double lattes to start the day.

Check out Benny too. Benny loves his Opa and MeMe – and it’s mutual. Benny at VPC

I wasn’t a traditional parent. As a Pan Am pilot and then a restaurateur I was away from home as much as I was there, but I always thought the advantages we provided – living in Germany for 6 years, world travel, growing up in a ski town in rural Idaho with creative and athletic friends – made up for some of the disadvantages. It may not have been an ideal family situation, but I still think it was a good one. I do remember my daughter, Diana, at one point saying “Couldn’t we just be a normal family?” I never knew what she meant, because I grew up in a normal family and hated it. I never wanted to be normal. I wanted all the adventure I could get. So, adventure in all of its forms is what I hope to give to my grandchildren – art, sport, outdoors, culture, and food. Let them choose their favorites but expose them to everything.

Yesterday, after the Starbucks adventure, we took them to the Seattle Art Museum where the featured exhibit is the work of women artists. I wrote about the exhibit in an earlier blog post, Seasonal Changes and the Art Walk.  The person at the membership desk reminded me that the show contained “mature content,” but the occasional nude is not disturbing and other more explicit content is easily avoided. I did reflect on the fact that most of the graphic pornographic and S & M content in modern art is generated by men and this was a show about women artists.

We wandered the floors of SAM for an hour or so and ended up in the playroom on the 3rd floor where we hung out and built some things with blocks before folding up and heading for lunch at the Volunteer Park Café.  VPC is owned by Ericka Burke, a friend of ours, and it’s a chaotic lunch scene with a big communal table in the center of the room. We found seats and ordered lunch, and while we waited Benny and Lucie wandered around looking at the food cases and other diners. They are well mannered as well as beautiful, and their wandering didn’t bother anyone. When the food came they sat down and picked at it but didn’t go ballistic because it wasn’t chicken nuggets or whatever else they might have wanted. These two are well trained and have eaten at the table with adults since they could actually sit there. God bless.

After lunch we went back to our place where we ALL took a nap. There is symmetry here – both young and old like to take naps. It’s a very good thing.

In the late afternoon we dropped them off at home and headed downtown to hear two young soloists perform Rachmaninoff’s 1st and 2nd piano concertos. The perfect end to a perfect grandparent day. I don’t know who I will be in 10 years, but I hope that Ben and Lucie are still in my life and we can have another perfect grandparent day with MeMe.

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