Sunday, July 29, 2007

In the midst of life.

After delving into the past on Friday, I spent Saturday with the future. My daughter was working, so I looked after my grandson for the day. It was all go. First, we invaded my next door neighbours, who were having a garden sale. Grandson decided to join in, and tried out all the old toys he could lay hands on. He's just 3, so everything is a toy to him.

Then we walked down to the sea to go to the paddling pool.
And on the way we saw an enormously tall crane - irresistible to a boy who loves anything with wheels and an engine. It was hoisting a large cage carrying willing victims up to take part in a charity bungee-jumping event. In aid of the local childrens' hospital, it was doing a fantastic trade. I'd never be able to jump, I'm a complete coward about that sort of thing, but my grandson was very keen, and had to be discouraged from climbing over the safety barrier. We watched for a while, and I tried to imagine how I would tell my daughter about her small son bungee-jumping. While we were there, we got into conversation with a very smart set of grandparents who were also watching, with twin grand-daughters. They (the little ones) were very nervous - not of the bungee-jumping, but of my grandson! He's not scary, and was about the same age as them, but apparently they are frightened of just about everything. In the space of a five minute chat I learned not only this, but that the mother of the twins was also very nervous, had been left on her own to bring them up, and had suffered depression. Who says that the English are a reticent nation?

As we walked on, I wondered about what it is that makes us all so different. My daughter was also left with my grandson, when she was 22 and he was only four months old, and she was in a terrible state for a while. But she is obviously made of strong stuff; true they came to live with me for a bit, while recovering from the shock mostly, but in a really short space of time she was ready to get on with her life again. And grandson has always been a delight. He's happy, healthy, funny and bright. She has turned out to be a brilliant mother, and at 25 is enjoying her life again. So far, so good.

This morning, while dropping off my daughter and grandson at a childrens' party on the beach, we drove past an accident that had obviously just happened. It looked horrific. A motor bike had slammed into the side of a car, and the casualties were lying in the road. An ambulance was just arriving, but it didn't look good. Suddenly, in the middle of a mild argument with my daughter, about absolutely nothing, I was reminded just how fragile life is. Two minutes either way, and we could have been involved. That poor young man (of course it was a young man on the motorbike) had been full of the joys of a sunny Sunday morning in Brighton. He's someone's son - and someone's grandson. I hope he wasn't as badly hurt as it seemed. We are so lucky to be alive.

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