More Un-Ordinary Things

Hey, kids:

You are the kids who know about “unusual things before breakfast” but I, too, have looked for such things all of my life. Most of the time things that appear on the surface to be ordinary, are in fact not.

Here are a few more examples of not-so-ordinary things.

What if you were just minding your own business in Grandma’s house and watching a movie and eating a “surprise lunchable” when you heard a noise and looked outside and saw Grandpa putting the finishing touches on a snowman right on the deck ?

What if it was even better than that and the snowman had Oreos for eyes and malt balls for a mouth, a carrot from the winter garden for his nose and was wearing one of Grandpa’s fishing hats?

Grandpa and I think alike when it comes to filling your lives with magic things like an ordinary snowman who isn’t ordinary at all.

What if I hadn’t had my camera handy or had said “go, stand by the snowman with Grandpa” instead of saying nothing and quietly standing far behind you in the kitchen with my magic lens?

Would you remember this little story?

Won’t you tell me ?

There is no doubt about it that Grandpa has tools and isn’t afraid to use them.

For 27 years of grandchildren, he has taught little people to use them with safety and is aware that they are always plotting how they might get their hands on them. Holden probably can’t believe how easily this tool cuts the pipe. He can’t take his eyes off of it.

How is it, that a simple task like cutting a pipe can become a very un-ordinary moment? I will tell you. Because children see magic in everything, even things that grown-ups find yawningly boring.

Every day in the life of children is Un-Ordinary because tools are magic and made more so by the fact that they are off-limits to them without a grown-up around. Little people dream of the day when the tools will belong to them and they can cut up anything they want to  without asking.

Since I was very far back in the Orchard when I saw this moment coming, I was able to sneak up on it without disturbing “it”.

Do you remember?

Few things are more ordinary than playing the piano but there is nothing ordinary about the way this little person is studying the music when she has no idea what she is seeing. I realized when I saw her keep turning the pages and studying the picture at the top of each page and then running her eyes over the notes, that I may have jumped to a conclusion that adults are often guilty of doing.

When I heard the music come from the keys and watched her head tilt from side to side I realized that nothing ordinary was happening here. Yes, children mimic. Nevertheless, I listened more carefully to what she was playing and how she touched the keys. It was beautiful but had no relation to the page but she thought it did.

Now that I have several such photo stories, taken each year for several years, I know that there is nothing ordinary about how she and the music she makes has changed.

Perhaps there is something very ordinary about reading the newspaper. I am not so sure. These children are curious about the world and so when their mother reads to them and explains the photographs they are enlarged and educated.

Not all children reach immediately for the comics. These little boys have always liked “real” books and topics.

I have favorite Photo Stories and this is one of them. I could mention several more observations about the photo if you cared but maybe you don’t now but someday you will. You will remember the over-sized chair because it is now in your house and sitting squished against your mother while your little brother was unusually quiet for a change and the light coming in the window behind you. This photo story might help you to remember things that came before and after this moment along with why you were there and what you ate for lunch.

You can tell stories about photos any way you want to. Sometimes they represent just one moment in time but usually not. They are just a starting place for a more complicated story.

It was just another ordinary day, or so we all thought. I was just visiting as a helper and a playmate for you.

Then I saw a moment like this one and I knew there was nothing ordinary about it. I saw a young mother with a new baby, and the baby happened to be a boy after two girls and two very interested little girls who wanted to be in charge of the baby when their mother was finished with him. They seemed to remember everything about being babies themselves and thought they could do things just as well.

When mommy gave the baby his first bath, she talked to the little girls about what she was doing and what was different about his body. Once you start a conversation like that one it begs more questions from little minds and offers other ways of looking at things that can be challenging. This photo story was full of “let me do that” or “I can do that” or “he is cold” or “you are making him cry”.

The reason this is not an ordinary moment is because there are no such things. Nothing is ordinary. Everything has some magic in it if you look.

That is all about un-ordinary things for now.

Hopefully you are now thinking and thinking.

-Grandma-

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