My granddaughter Zadie, now 10 years old, has just finished a full week with my wife Karen and I and will be with us one more week attending her Aunt Talia’s summer camp in Golden Gate Park. It has been a rich and fun-filled time and unleashed a cornucopia of delights. In seven days, we’ve done the following things:
• Flown a kite on the Marina Green.
• Ridden bikes in Golden Gate Park.
• Taken two seven-mile city walks, one to the Moraga St. stairs, one to the Lyon St. stairs.
• Rode the cable car, took a water taxi on the Bay, went up the Hyatt Regency Hotel glass elevators and peeked into the Palace Hotel where I used to play piano.
• Had tea at the Japanese Tea Garden, enjoyed the view from the De Young Museum tower, rode a paddleboat on Stowe Lake.
• Went to a Circus Theater performance of The Secret Garden.
• Went to the Herbst Theater to see Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers jazz tribute to Peggy Lee.
• Went to a private rehearsal with Bobby McFerrin and three other singers— and joined the circle to sing a bit!
• Went shopping for art supplies, earrings, pants and a belt.
• Watched two Warrior’s games in neighborhood restaurants, including their championship victory.
• Watched two movies at home— My Cousin Vinnie and Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes.
• Went to two exhibits at the De Young Museum
Not to mention cooking, Rummy 500 card games, paddleball in the back yard, a bit of work on a jigsaw puzzle, helping her notate a piano piece she composed, parallel reading on the couch. Zadie sewed a marker case for herself, turned out some stunning drawings, went into her room and closed the door for her own solitude and private time (with us wisely keeping the i-Pad out of the room). She’s enjoying our excursions, but also values her “relax time.” As do we.
Live theater, live jazz, an art museum, classic films, long walks in parks, tourist sights, games, down time with each doing their separate projects. Like I said, a rich, fulfilling time.
As her grandfather, I feel it’s my responsibility to expose her to cultural events, get her outdoors walking, biking, running, playing, encourage her to develop her own artistic, musical and writing skills. But let’s face it. It’s also a great excuse for me to keep doing what I love with the added perk of sharing it with someone I love. To be a tourist in my own town (hadn’t ridden a cable car or had tea in the Tea Garden for many years, had never taken a water taxi), to re-visit old movies, to complete my loyal playoff following of the Warriors. Naturally, she doesn’t have to love any of it as much as I do, but I do want her to give them all a try. And yes, I spend time listening to the things she’s excited about and am happy when she shares them with me.
I loved having children for a number of reasons, but part of it was the excuse to have a second childhood. I’m equally loving the grandchildren for the same reasons and I’m having a fabulous third childhood. Don’t think a fourth childhood is in the cards, so I plan to enjoy and savor each and every minute of this one! After today’s camp, I think we’ll bike to our favorite ice cream place. Wheeee!!!