Her little feet began to drag ever so slightly after hiking for an hour. My four and one-half year old granddaughter’s stamina had hit bottom and we were looking for ways to keep her energy and enthusiasm up. Thus began the storytelling about when her papa, my son, was little. We had spent some time over New Years Eve looking at pictures of Christmas past so her mind was open to hearing adventures to go along with the pictures.
I began with the story of the time when he and his older sister were climbing on top of the retaining wall next to the driveway. Despite numerous warnings, the two continued to play until the oldest picked up the youngest and crash, down they both tumbled, with my son bearing the brunt of the fall on his arm. A doctor’s visit and x-ray later revealed that a cast was required on the forearm. My story continued with memories of making the best of this new situation with me stenciling an elaborate train on the front of the cast and wrapping a bag around the arm for baths and swim, and of course being banned from hanging from monkey bars. Her eyes widened with each detail and appeared to relish the storytelling. Well at least she wasn’t complaining about her tired legs. And then she said: .
“Tell it again Bebe”
I repeated the story two more times, each time embellishing the story with more elaborate details. And then:
“Tell me another one Bebe!”
My mind was blank. I stood for a minute until I could recall another silly childhood adventure. She was captivated by these stories of her papa, realizing he too got into trouble and did silly things as a child.
We finally reached the bottom of the climb and were back home. Our storytelling distraction had eased the tired legs and allowed for a few laughs too. As we heated up the tea and cocoa water to get our chill out, I realized that my parents and grandparents never shared stories with me. I felt heavy hearted realizing this loss of history and story about my past. The sadness grew stronger knowing I could no longer ask the questions of them. It was then that I promised myself to make a list of stories to share with my children and grandchildren so that they could understand our history and enjoy the stories and adventures of the past. The power of stories is real and necessary always, and not just when trying to distract tired legs on the trail.
Its Tuesday and I am sharing my slice of life story with the fine community of writers over at Two Writing Teachers. Take a peak and consider joining in the fun!