Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 22 March 2011 14:27
Springtime in Minnesota is not much different than springtime in Kansas, is it? Birds are returning to their nesting grounds, days are getting longer and people are emerging from their homes, dressed in clothing more fitting for triple-digit temperatures.
Unless one ignores the copious mounds of snow remaining in central and northern Minnesota while streams and rivers are flowing out of their banks, spring is still spring, regardless of our relative position on this planet.
This is Grace and Lucia’s first springtime experience in their life. They do not comprehend the significance of it at all. Perhaps if they had an adult’s perspective, especially after having experienced 60 years’ worth of springtime events, not to mention aware that one of these years may be the last, perhaps they would understand the significance as much as we do.
They focus on the “here and now.” Their experiences relate to food availability, physical comfort and their close proximity to mommy and daddy. They engage their surroundings with predictable actions. They “see, touch and taste” objects that appear interesting and worth further exploration.
Individual differences, though slight, reveal each twin’s unique personality. Lucia is more expressive and inquisitive. Grace is the deep thinker, generally waiting to speak her mind until later.
Each twin expresses concern for the other, especially when one is in another room and can hear the other's cry. They also express a normal fear of new things and new people. “Stranger danger” best describes this condition.
One of the great rewards the parents receive is watching Grace and Lucia increasing their mental and physical presence. Their ability to see things with greater clarity improves with each passing day. They discover their voice while making sounds other than crying as a response from hunger or discomfort. Words or terms of endearment may not be far away in the future.
At an early age, they learn to manipulate their crying sounds to get what they want. One of them—I forget which one—was crying loudly and forcefully, whereupon her mother picked her up and began walking towards the kitchen. Immediately, the child stopped crying and her facial expression changed into a happy face, making happy sounds, as if she were saying, “Hey! It worked! I got what I wanted! Mommy picked me up!”
Can anyone truly say that children are completely innocent? Neither are adults, for that matter, but that’s a topic for another time.
Children, like adults, enjoy music. It does soothe the savage beast and other living things as well. During Christmas, rhythm and blues selections from Pandora radio provided the ambiance for a relaxing mood. In Minnesota, Bach at Bedtime and Beethoven at Bedtime are favorites. I can fall asleep with either melody.
As I write this, with Grace on my lap, while kicking at my laptop, I actually enjoy grandparent duties, regular and unexpected interruptions notwithstanding. Dinner feeding of mashed peas has just concluded and we await the bottle feeding that is on the schedule.
Grace appears content with her chew toy and sitting on my lap. I'm doing fine, adjusting to wordsmithing on the run, as it were.
My mind occasionally wanders to the future. What will these two bundles of life be like in two decades? I’ll be 80 years of age, and they, just entering adult-hood. Will they remember this time we had together? Not at all. Will I remember them? Yes, if I can help it.
Speaking of the motivational aspect of “helping it,” while looking at family photos yesterday, son Ben commented on an unflattering profile of yours truly. “It's your motivational photo,” he says, with a muffled chuckle. “Motivational?” I ask. I don’t receive an answer, but only another chuckle. More chuckles ensue from the gallery section of wife and daughter-in-law.
I know what he means. Who doesn’t? In my defense, I can’t wait to fast forward another 30 years and observe the likeness of his motivational photo.
To do that, I need to do those things necessary to see it. So, reluctantly, I will use my motivational photo to inspire true greatness, not to mention physical fitness.
We (son and I) share a common ancestry and DNA. I have the benefit of the Groening family’s propensity for baldness. His only slightly less so. I was skinny, once upon a time. He still is.
The twins and I share a common bond. We lack a certain amount of hair on top. The similarity ends there, however. My strands of hair look hauntingly similar to the “Whos” in Who-ville: bald on top and disheveled on the sides. Theirs are more like short silky strands, neatly arranged and perfectly covering the entire cranial area.
Our faces are similarly round, thanks to shared DNA. Again, my face shows the wear of many years, good and bad. They are still reflecting low mileage and are angelic and innocent looking. Note that I’ve written “innocent looking.”
I’ve proposed a photo session featuring our similarities and dis-similarities. It could prove to be problematic for me, however. I wouldn’t want something to show up on Facebook in the near future.