See the world through the eyes of a child

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

Some things bring out the kid in us.

Like snow. Lots of snow.

And it doesn’t hurt to have a real kid around. The kind who still is awed by Mother Nature’s ability. The kind who wakes up ready to go on a new adventure. The kind who is yet to be jaded by the ways of the world.

Such was the case in our house Sunday. Our 5-year-old granddaughter spent the night. She was excited. We were excited.

After a night of cookies and dancing, gingerbread house decorating and singing, she happily went to bed without a fuss.

I got up Sunday morning just before the sun. And yes, I was excited to see her reaction to what had fallen from the sky overnight. But I was good. I didn’t wake her, but waited somewhat impatiently.

It was worth the wait.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes open that wide so soon after getting out of bed. The sparkle was there, and she started talking. Is it real? Can we go out and play?

Yes, it is real. And yes, we can go out and play, but not just yet. Wait for gamma to get out of bed. Wait until we eat breakfast. Wait until you get your snow clothes on.

Was I being too harsh? There’s no way I want to be responsible for diminishing any of that wonder and enthusiasm. But she was ready to snuggle and think — and talk — about the fun that would come.

We made sure gamma got out of bed soon, that breakfast was being made and that the snow clothes were ready to go on. I can remember some big snows from when I was a child, and several of them are among my oldest memories. So don’t blow this, old man.

With an injured ankle, gamma wasn’t much help with the playing in the snow. That was up to Pops.

We weren’t outside for a minute before she had made a snowball and hurled it my way. Luckily for me, little 5-year-old hands are too small and inexperienced to make a snowball that can fly very far. But she landed one on me just the same. I yelled, and she beamed and giggled. It was a big accomplishment in her mind. Then it was my turn. The constant worrier, I made sure my snowball landed on her back. She whipped around, and it was on.

We walked around, checking on the bird feeders and looking at all of the trees bent over from the weight of the snow, blocking our path.

Then she realized that she had brought a sled. I remember sledding, going down a hill of frozen ice and snow on wooden slats attached to metal runners, with a steering system of sorts that was best used to show off and not dodge trees. The best way to do that is to roll off before the crash.

But today’s sleds are different. Plastic. She brought two. A round disk, which looked like it could make you dizzy if you went down the right hill. And another one, shaped to sit or lay in. But this one had a rope attached. A rope? What could that be for?

I soon learned. Hills for sledding just don’t exist at our house. The rope was for Pops. The sled was for Kenzie. Pops holds the rope and runs through the snow. Kenzie rides and laughs, tells me to speed up, to slow down, not to go that way, to go this way.

Running through a foot of snow pulling a 5-year-old is harder than it sounds. Sure, the first lap around the yard wasn’t bad. Neither was the second. I even picked up speed and ran as fast as I could because it was so much fun. By the fifth lap, Pops’ legs were beginning to get a bit heavy. I was breathing heavy. She was squealing with joy. Thinking about those elderly — and I’m there whether I act like it or not — who die while shoveling snow in cold weather, I suggested we take a break for some hot chocolate.

Luckily, she was ready for a break, too.

This same scene happened several times Sunday morning. By noon, Pops was pooped. Kenzie was still going strong. Later, her parents said she had slept in the truck all the way home. Yes, I’ve still got it. I kept up with an excited 5-year-old through a morning of playing in the snow.

But more importantly, I was reminded of the wonder of our world. I was reminded to look at things through eyes yet to be jaded by negativity. I was reminded of what it was like to be a child.