Experiences accumulate. Accumulate and compact. Interact and transform. Blend.
I had wild plans for my first born before my first born was even born – what I’d expose him to, what I’d protect him from, a harvest of loose ends, my experience up to that time. But my experience after he was born was not what I’d projected; in some ways, even the opposite.
As we move thru life, much of our experience is disappointment, and disappointment is an experience that cuts into expectations.
Eating dinner with my granddaughter and my four-year-old great-grandson the other night, the boy insisted on putting his lips to the plate and sucking the spaghetti noodles straight into his mouth, which is an efficient way to eat spaghetti but caused my granddaughter to sit him up straight in his chair, stick a fork in his hand, and admonish: “That’s how you eat spaghetti. With a fork!” Then, exasperated, she went out on the porch to smoke a cigarette, leaving the boy and me at the table, him frowning at the fork in his hand.
I picked up my fork too and frowned at it, then said, “You know, little buddy, if you’re all alone you can eat spaghetti any way you want, but if you’re with other people, unless they eat spaghetti the way you do, it’s best to use a fork; people expect it and it keeps them off your back.”
He considered the wisdom of this bit of information, and then, never taking his eyes from mine, he lowered his head to his plate and began slurping up noodles. I smiled, lowered my head to my plate, and did likewise.
When his mother came back in we sat up straight and picked up our forks.
“Looks like you talked some sense into him,” she said. “How’d you manage that?”
“Years of experience,” I said.
And my great-grandson, in that disarming way he has of summing things up, said: “I learn something new every day.”