"Listen to your kids. You might learn something."
I just caught a glimpse of the signboard while driving by. A couple of words could be added. "Time waits for no one. Take time."
The advice can be applied to a multitude of subjects and situations. It was a reminder of a recent visit from my granddaughters, Jennifer and Amy, of Seattle. They are now adults. As with many of today's young generation, they are passionate and knowledgeable about the environment, physical fitness, biking, hiking, sports, diets, politics, etc.
Both have alternately spent time staying with me in Missoula from preschool days. Both have a love of water, on top or under. For play or work. As swimmers, boaters, divers, guards.
Jennifer, the oldest, told me about "wishing rocks" when she was 10 and we were exploring the banks of the Clark Fork. It was summer. The current was lazy and the rocks had been scoured clean. Like a prospector discovering gems, she was excited about her finds of wishing rocks, stones circled with a white band.
Suddenly remembering the story of sheepherders' monuments on the prairie, she exclaimed: "Let's make a "wishing rock monument!"
That afternoon was spent building our monument on a strip of land in the middle of the river across from the location of the present Brennan's Wave.
Other "explorers" made additions to the tower on following days, including miniature flags on top.
Both of the girls liked visiting during Western Montana Fair week. One summer, Amy won a blue ribbon for her flower and driftwood arrangement. (Once upon a time, her mother, Sally, won a blue ribbon for chocolate chip cookies. No family member has ever equaled her cookie expertise.)
Amy arrived on this planet with a keen imagination and inquisitive mind. She always looked for Mount Jumbo, "the elephant mountain," when she came to Missoula. While visiting as a preschooler, she wondered how people could "get between those big mountains." So we took a drive to East Missoula.
The next day, she was constructing a scene in a sand box at the Willard School playground. When some older, curious kids stopped by to observe, and she explained the scene, they had apparently never heard the names of Missoula's guardian mountains.
Fast forward. All granddaughters were bridesmaids at the wedding to Dick Moore in the First Methodist Church. Grandsons, kith and kin included. A real family celebration, 17 years ago
Passing years. Graduations, weddings, memorials. The loss of my oldest granddaughter, Larissa.
This June, as I accompanied my Seattle "girls" on another trip downtown again, they were enthusiastic as they had discovered unique shops on their own and wanted to
Occasionally they held my hand while crossing busy Higgins Avenue. (I might trip on a crack, fall on my chin, skin my knees, etc.) A role reversal. Such a short while ago when I protected them.
A mid-afternoon stop at Butterfly Herbs, always traditional. Hot chocolate. Conversation. Laughs. Too soon they were on the road north to catch a train back to Seattle.
Sunrise. Sunset. Take time to listen to your kids.