This morning while Cooper was napping Dylan and I went out on the front walk to toss out bread for the chickadees, starlings, and scrub jays. As we ripped our slices of bread into bird-sized bits we both heard the sound of a fire engine motor a couple of blocks away. Now, you wouldn't think a 2-year-old boy would recognize the sound of such a motor but because I've pointed out all kinds of sounds to Dylan from infancy onward he has very keen ears. We looked at each other...his eyes were like saucers, his mouth shaped in a big "O"...and we hurried over to the sidewalk where I squatted down next to him and we gazed down the street to where we thought the fire engine might pass by. And, sure enough, it did. And it made my grandson's day!
Before Cooper came along, Dylan and I spent a couple of hours just about every day out walking all over the area in Portland where I live. And everywhere we've gone I've taken the time to stop and smell the roses with him along the way. We would take time to pull up close to where 'worker dudes' were patching up sewer lines or paving or cutting down trees or fixing broken water mains. We'd watch squirrels frolic together or the fights between them and crows for fallen walnuts or chestnuts. Talk to people. Pick up books at the library. Shop at stores. Stop along a curbside on a quiet street and have a snack and some juice. Go buy muffins at a nearby bakery. We'd stop to watch helicopters fly overhead...military jets, too. We'd occasionally have lunch at Burger King and spend time watching the people. Nothing was ever too boring, too insignificant, to miss our attention. We would listen, too, to train whistles and jet engines, helicopter rotors, different bird songs, police sirens, ambulance sirens, and fire sirens. He loves my wind chimes. He loves to stand under big trees when gusty winds are blowing and look up, watching the boughs dance and sway. On our 'big boy' walks where he's walking beside me, he loves to collect rocks along the way. Then we stop at mud puddles or sewer grates and he tosses them in. Stomps in the puddles, too...what are wet socks, anyway? I can toss them in the dryer for a few minutes when we get home and he's good to go again.
All day long, after seeing the fire engine speed by down the street, he let me know he wanted to go see some more. So when Dear Hubby got home and while Cooper napped again, Dylan and I walked to the local fire station about 10 blocks from our house. As luck would have it, one of the engines came out and went past us on the street. Oh, what a thrilled little boy he was when he saw that! But when we arrived at the fire station, the big garage doors were shut. "Ohhhhhhh!" he said in disappointment, pointing at the doors. "We'll go around back and see if the doors are open on the other side," I told him, so we headed back there and sure enough, they were open and the paramedic truck was still in its stall. I knocked on one of the doors and asked if it was ok for us to go look at it and the fireman I spoke to said it certainly was...he'd have one of the guys come out and show it to us. "Oh, no no no...don't go to any trouble for us!" I told him. "We'll just take a look and leave." "It's no problem at all!" he told me, so Dylan and I went out to wait. A minute later, a fireman came out to talk to us and show us around. And he gave Dylan two sticker badges to put on his sweat shirt...Dylan is now an Honorary Portland Fire Fighter! Another fireman came out and gave me a pop-out fire truck to put together when we got home. And they both told us to come back any time...that if the front doors are open to feel free to come in and say hello. And my little grandson was absolutely enthralled. Plus, on the way home, the fire engine that sped up the street was now on its way back and when the fireman spotted us, me crouching on the sidewalk pointing him out, he waved to Dylan as he passed by. The walk home was full of siren noises and arm gestures and patting his badge stickers on his sweat shirt. He ran inside the house when we got here to show them to Papa.
One of these days the sun will shine here in Portland...I have faith that it will, anyway! I have a double stroller my neighbor Sharon was kind enough to provide for me, borrowing it from one of her daughters. And on the first beautiful morning we have, Dylan and Cooper and I are going to set out. We'll pack up a bottle along with our snacks and maybe an extra diaper or two. And we'll head off down the street. No destination in particular but most likely we'll pass by the fire house and say hi. And Dylan and I will share the scent of the roses with Cooper. And we'll both see the world for the first time thru his eyes.