From the Editor

Three twigs and unbridled joy

Oct 15, 2016
Harper and Hudson love to be outside — and to play with anything they find, including sticks, dirt, leaves and even bugs.

On a recent weekend, my daughter-in-law Ashley was volunteering at a stroke camp, which left my son alone with 1-year-old twins. It offered a chance for me to not only lend a helping hand, but experience the multiple pleasures that accompany babysitting.

My favorite time was when Harper fell asleep in Cole’s arms and Hudson woke up ready to roll. We went down the hill to visit Rich and Shay, who were adding on to a storage shed. Hudson had a grand time watching them use the post hole digger and playing with tools his mom would likely nix.

It was about time for lunch, so we strolled back to Cole and Ashley’s house, but Harper was still asleep and Cole was immobilized because moving would wake her.

We slipped back outside and settled under the dogwood tree, with not a single toy around. We found three twigs — small, medium and larger — that provided plenty of entertainment. Twirling the twigs, mini twig battles, drawing with the twigs, batting leaves with the twigs and the list went on. We’d look at the clouds a while, then sing, then play again.

The time was the most peaceful, restful and joyful hour I’ve spent in the past year. To watch the unbridled joy on his face during each new discovery, to hear his wide-open laughter and to simply do nothing — and everything — at the same time is easily a definition for happiness.

Soon we decided it was time it was time for lunch whether Miss Harper was ready or not.

Our next journey was to visit Ashley at stroke camp where the twins ended up entertaining the camp volunteers and participants during a free-time session.

Harper was well-rested and warmed up to everyone with her ready smile and inquisitive nature. There was an array of drums and shakers in the corner where both were fascinated by the many of sounds that could be made.

The corner actually inspired my drum birthday gifts that hopefully will outlast any age-appropriate toys, plus inspire a sense of how to make music.

As they played, I got a chance to talk with some of the volunteers and Ashley’s students about their work with stroke patients. Ashley is an assistant professor at Western Carolina University’s physical therapy program and her research in the field has already qualified to be presented at a prestigious national event in Houston next year. She’s very modest about it, but clearly it is quite an accomplishment for someone her age. I’m especially glad because an out-of-town conference for her means more babysitting for us!

As we wrapped up the day with a family dinner, it was clearly one that made memories that will only grow richer in time.