It's all relative

Posted by jdg | Thursday, June 12, 2008

In San Francisco, I once made the mistake of asking the Korean War-veteran-looking gentleman pushing the child in the next swing how old his grandson was. He laughed awkwardly: "It's my son actually, and he's almost one." When visiting, my 50-something mother-in-law would take the kid to Golden Gate Park and get asked what preschools she was considering for her daughter. We were twenty-seven when Juniper was born, and someone was always around to make us feel like this was scandalously young.

Yesterday we were at a park here in Detroit and Juniper was playing with three older kids in an incredible water feature: a circular basin 30 feet in diameter intermittently flooded with a few inches of water and randomly shooting geysers from jets below the surface. After just a few minutes, the kids' street clothes were soaked. I looked over to the other kids' mom and dad and shrugged my shoulders, and they shrugged theirs back, as if in mutual agreement that we should just let them have their fun. We sat there watching them for nearly an hour. Juniper ran up to me at one point and said, "Look at me pops, I'm soaked TO THE BONE!" The other couple laughed. I said, "We'll see if she's that happy about it on the way home."

"This definitely wasn't part of our plans, either," they told me. They were really nice. I figured they were about my age, give or take a couple years.

Then their boy ran over to them for a snack. His jeans were so saturated they sunk a few inches below the tops of his Spiderman underwear. "Pull up those drawers, Jaden," the man said.

"But Grandpa, they won't stay up!"