If I write a third book, it will bow to our great teachers, children. Maybe I’d call it “Grand Kids as Gurus.” Chapter titles would highlight lessons they teach: Gratitude. Compassion. Presence. Open-Heartedness. Acceptance. Community.
Imagine grandkids as gurus. I had always wanted one special mentor whose books I could read or whose retreats I could attend. Then I’d find I’d one I liked and he or she would dole out a task I’d resist. “Wake up at 4 a.m. to meditate for an hour.”
Or I’d find a good match and he or she would get all teacher-y. “Read the classic Bhagavad-Gita for the third time from a third source.”
I don’t take orders well.
But teachers and teachings—about joy, about living fully— show up right in front of us everywhere if we follow our early training: “Stop. Look. Listen.”
When I started to pay attention to my life, tutors appeared: teeny grand babies whose cries for diaper changes, bottles and swaddles checkmated my ideas. Over and over. The lesson: Drop Expectations. Drop them again and again and again. Gurus demand repeated practice.
For years I have studied with my gifted instructors. I take notes. I write stories about what I’ve learned from the twin boys and their two sisters. Mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat -Zinn calls children “everyday blessings.” He also says, “The little things? Little Moments? They aren’t little.”
Not little at all, my advisors have big drive, big love, big hearts. They hug me with a big frown, “I am so sad. Why do you have to leave today?” Lesson: Unconditional Love.
They, too, insist on my rousing every day at dawn. “Susu, time to get up! We gotta finish that Lego ‘struction or make sofa cushion forts.” Lesson: Let Go of my Plan for Sleep. Meet the Moment.
They also want me to read classics repeatedly. “Open to that big scary place in ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ where Max cries, ‘Let the wild rumpus start!’”
We turn to the fantastic double page. How many times have they requested these words of Max? I roar, “LET THE WILD RUMPUS START.”
They wiggle-waggle, roll, stomp, bump, hoot, bow and dance like the wild things Max meets on his imaginary voyage. Then they beg, “Again!”
I ask, “Again?”
They giggle, “YES! Again!”
Chapter title: Delight.
Sometimes I forget our roles and try to force my will, “How ’bout we sit quietly and draw with these really cool washable markers? Then maybe we could all take naps.”
As if with a Zen sword, they strike,”No, let’s jump like bunnies to the back yard to build a stone wall and a twig bridge big enough for the turtles to go under but not so high that the rabbits trip.”
The young masters speak. I pick branches and wet rocks. This is my retreat. There are no rabbits, no turtles. No matter. As I place debris around, I ask, “How big? Is this good?”
The three-year old says, “No, it’s too heavy. It’ll cwash. That’s ok, Susu, maybe you never built a bwidge befow. Just keep pwacticing .”
I want my life to go like that. Following them. I want to be a student moved by the wonder in each moment’s lessons. If I let my mind, like Max’s, “sail back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day,” I can laugh with these dear teachers. I think they are right when they say, “This is going to be weawy weawy fun!”