Wednesday, August 3, 2011

through the eyes of children

I went out on a bike ride with three of my grandkids yesterday. We didn't set out til 7 PM and even then it was hot but at least bearable. The three oldest, the only boy and eldest at 14 and the twins at 13 wanted to show me a place they found off the bike trail through the neighborhoods where it intersects the bayou. It is an 'engineered' bayou made into a concrete channel through the city but even these have more wild and natural drains into them and that's what this one was, an inviting cleft in the land that drained the surrounding area, a sort of wet little stream with small pools and minnows and lots of under and over growth. Hunks of concrete, old pavements made a cascade and stepping stones up and into the beckoning green.

I wasn't sure exactly where we were, where we would come topside if we followed it up but I knew basically where we were.

It reminded me of being their age with a bike and the world, only my bayou was not a concrete channel but a living waterway and the woods were full of such drains. I thought of the freedom we had as kids and how restricted their lives had been in comparison. I was a little surprised how far it was considering they weren't really allowed out even in the fenced yard without an adult too many years ago. This new hike and bike trail through the neighborhoods was like a mini-highway for them.

The kids were so funny, starting out, my grandson peddled alongside me and we talked. Jade and Autumn would stop now and then and let us catch up. When it is time for us to go 'off trail' as it were down this quite steep foot worn path to the banks of the concrete bayou and exploring the little wash it was all

look out here Granny

be careful there Granny

step over here Granny

watch out for the hole Granny

it's easier along here Granny

When we headed back, Mikey got his bike up to the top then came back for mine.

"I'll get this, Granny," as he hauls my bike up the steep slope.

It hasn't been that long since I was the one hauling all the bikes up.

Jade dashes on ahead, headed home. Mikey takes off after her yelling back to his sister who is peddling beside me, 'Autumn, you've got Granny duty' as if I'm some doddering old fool that might get lost or damaged on the way home.

"Don't worry Granny," she tells me, "I won't ditch you."

I laughed and told her I wasn't old and decrepit, just old and I was pretty sure I could find my way home. I had, after all, lived in this area for 35 years. And if all else failed I could always call out the troops on my phone.

She paced herself to me anyway and it was nice.

They've taken, lately, to pointing out all my signs of aging, the hair on my chin, the wrinkles on my face, the spots on my skin. The other day Autumn told me I was getting white hair.

Thanks, sweetie, for pointing that out to me. My usual response is to get all Abe Simpson on them, shaking my finger, creaking my voice

"And one day it will happen to you too!"


  1. I love it, a great tale.I always loved areas like that.It is funny when someone decides we are old and at what age. I can still keep up pretty good.

  2. It's so sweet that they take such good care of Granny. I like to see children think of others before themselves. It's cool that they care so much and you've made a permanent impression with them.

  3. I loved this post Ellen - coming so quickly after my own "Bike" post!

    My dad used to laugh with our kids 2I know your game ... wear the old ones out first. I'm not going quietly though!"

  4. it does happen! it really does!!! my son is especially happy to point out the small but unavoidable signs of my aging body. i love to hand it gently back to him with that pointed finger!!! steven

  5. Yeppers...they are so kind huh? The questions sometimes are the kickers....all fun, all the time. I love the mental picture of you....goin all Ave on them...too funny.

  6. Ha.
    It's so great that such a place, which I can imagine vividly from your description, all set about with chunks of concrete and asphalt, overrun with invasive prickly things, can be a magical destination for kids. How good of you to explore it with them! They will remember it always, even when they have wrinkles and spots themselves.

  7. LOL - kids are so direct & have no idea (I hope!) of the impact of their words. I'm always amazed to hear you call yourself granny - you certainly aren't a granny in blog land!

  8. Okay, I don't know why this made me cry, I'm not even hormonal yet. I guess the idea of "a bike and the world" and your grandkids acting adorably made me think of my boy. When he was 5, getting ready to go to Pre K, he cried for a long time because he didn't want to stay in school. We did everything together. I told him "One day you'll hate having me around because you'll think I'm not cool." He stopped crying, made his most upset face and said "You'll never be no cool."

    He asked to go out dancing with him a couple of weeks ago--he is 21 now. We went. We were dancing and he said "You'll always be the coolest, Tia." I began to cry like a loon, and of course, he couldn't figured out why. I might tell him one of these days...

  9. Are they ready to go down river...

  10. I don't know what is cuter - them calling you "Granny" [LOVE!] or that they are so concerned with your aging. So sweet.

  11. Its true what you say about the kids of today not having the same freedom that we enjoyed. I used to roam the countryside at will.

  12. You have very polite grandkids. Well, in the sense that they watch out for you. I think that's really sweet.

  13. I will keep this in mind with my future grandchild. Getting my finger ready . . .

  14. They are so sweet taking care of you - and a bit unaware of your physical strength, eh?

    But their hearts are in the right place, definitely.

  15. This sounds so fun!! Brings back memories when my sister and I were kids...our bikes took us anywhere we wanted to go and we had the whole world in front of us. :) Bless their hearts for watching out for's very cute actually. lol

  16. Those wayward chin hairs are the worst, especially the way they pop up overnight!

  17. Excellent! I was there with you guys.

  18. You are so NOT my idea of "granny" What a fun bike ride! Thanks for taking us along! that's as close as i will come to getting back on a bike, I think...

  19. Haha! Ellen, this would make a very funny children's story. I think you should turn this post into a story book. Seriously. ;)

  20. Great story and adventure! I love to ride my bike and ride it almost every day. Funny how kids perceive age. :)


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