Picks His First Raspberries

Dateline: 24 July 2013

Futureman reaching for a choice raspberry

As many of you already know, I have, by the grace of God, escaped wage slavery (six months ago) and am now working at home. That means I'm home every day, and that means I'm here to see my grandson when he comes here, which is just about every day. My son and his wife have lived practically next door for over a month—since his discharge from the Army. Seeing my grandson every day is a very good thing. It is one of the reasons I wanted to come home to work.

His name is Jaxson, but I like to call him Futureman. I call him Futureman because he will one day grow to be a man. And when you have the perspective of age that I do, you realize that he will grow to be a man relatively quickly. The name of "Futureman" is a continual reminder to me of this fact of life.

I firmly believe that the character of future men, like Jaxson, is shaped and molded when they are yet children, even as little as 15 months old (Futureman's current age). That being the case, one of my primary purposes in life, from here to the end, is to do what I can as a grandfather to help shape the character of my grandchildren, beginning with Futureman. 

Futureman relishing a raspberry

I alone will certainly not do this. Marlene will play her part as a loving grandmother. And Futureman's parents will certainly play their important role. And then there will be the uncles and aunts. It doesn't take a village to raise a child. It takes an extended family—that's the way God designed it.

But I can tell you that none of the family members have the perspective on this work of a family that Marlene and I have. And I, especially, am keenly cognizant of the role that grandparents can play in the life of a grandchild, and the lasting impression they can make (read, What My Grandmother Did For Me). Marlene's grandparents were either deceased or too old to have much impact on her life.

Futureman usually shows up here in the mornings, and his Grammie will make him breakfast. I'm typically working in my shop when he gets here. When I come into the house I make it a point to greet him with a big smile and spend a few moments interacting with him. Sometimes I help feed him breakfast. But it is becoming something of a custom for us to go out into the garden and see what's happening there. 

I introduced Futureman to strawberries about a month ago when they were coming on nicely. We sat in the straw mulch and I showed him how good the berries were by picking and eating them. But I didn't just eat them, I relished them in an exaggerated manner. I gave him one and he put it in his mouth, but then threw it away.

I mashed some strawberries up with a fork and tried to convince him that they were good that way. He tasted but quickly made a face and spit them out. Then I sweetened the pulped berries with a little homemade maple syrup. That solved the problem. He swallowed them down and opened his mouth wide like a hungry little bird wanting more.

When the raspberries came on, I introduced Futureman to the bushes, bejeweled with their lovely red fruits. I showed him how to pick a raspberry and relish it. Then I gave him one. He put it in his mouth, chewed it up, and swallowed it down. He liked it!  And he wanted another. 

I was downright pleased with that.  Then I started holding ripened berries on the bush out for him to pick himself. He grasped the concept and proceeded to pick and eat a dozen raspberries in no time. That's when I got Marlene and the camera to take these pictures.

Futureman stuffing another berry in his mouth, and eyeing up the next one.

I don't think Futureman will remember picking his first raspberries with his grandfather. But I do believe, that in these simple experiences of life, important foundations are being built—one little experience, routine and personal interaction at a time. And I am so very thankful for these moments.


Cyndi Lewis said...

Precious! I absolutely love it! I'm in the in between stage of life right now. No more babies but not quite old enough for grandchildren. I can't wait to hold my children's children in due time!

SharonR said...

"Precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." (Isaiah, I think?) I'm glad you said that it doesn't take a village to raise a child - but an extended family. You're right - that's God's plan. AND I believe it is God's plan to always have a baby to about age four in that extended family (in a perfect world) just to keep humor and hope in the family going, if nothing else.

Susan Humeston said...

What a smart man you are - I have such lovely memories of my aunt and uncle's house near Utica, NY when I was a child. My uncle grew everything it seems, in my large back yard and on another lot across the street. There were always tons of berries, black, rasp and straw - there were sticks of rhubarb to pick and dip in sugar and eat and there were ripe tomatoes to pick, lick, salt and bite. I live in Florida and NO veggie tastes like what I remember up north - even though I grow a few of my own. How I remember those halcyon days - and so will your grandson.

Anonymous said...

I applaud your desire and dedication to impact your young grandsons life. I too left the workforce as a design artist (freelance from home was so much better) 17 years ago to be available to my grandson after school and during summer break. I couldn't bear the thought of him in daycare. He lived next door so we all have priceless memories of him running through the pasture to our little farm. I remember standing in front of the tv on 9-11-01 when he was 11 years old watching those towers falling down. I told him to remember that moment because our lives would never be the same. I watched him sail off into the Atlantic this week on his way to the Middle East with the US Navy. It seems like yesterday that we were picking blackberries to make a pie. Cherish every mundane moment you have with your precious one. You are making a tremendous impact on his life and future generations. Regards, Jordans Nana