If you grow up in West Michigan, summer evenings are a time to pile into the car and head to The Lake with Mom and Dad to watch the sunset or walk the pier or maybe visit the Musical Fountain. The trip might involve a picnic–or you might leave right after dinner–and there was usually ice cream promised at the end. These aren’t those beach days spent chasing waves and building sand castles and Mom trying to keep the beach blanket sand-free. No, these trips are short and oh-so-sweet and just right for strolling.
This week we spent an evening in Grand Haven walking the boardwalk along the channel with my two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Jonas and his sister, ten-month-old Alexis. Oh, my. To see the ordinary through the eyes of a toddler! What is so familiar to us adults is a wonderland to a child–especially on that first visit when memories become tucked away for a lifetime.
Turns out that when we talked about all the big boats he’d see, Jonas assumed that he could hop on the boats that lined the channel, a bit of a disappointment–but there were Pronto Pups on a stick (he ate the breading and left the hot dog) and his own bag of chips (a treat!) and kids to chase rolling down the grassy hill, so it was all good. We stopped to watch a fisherman wrestle an enormous catfish onto the bank. Jonas tried to clamber over the breakwall boulders any time he heard “mokorcycles” roar by, and he ran off excitedly to see the “tiny barn”, actually an ice cream snack shack along the way. He rang the giant Coast Guard bell–does it get any better than that? And little sister? She watched, ate cheerios, had a bottle–just took it all in, waiting for the day when she, too, is mobile and can join him in the fun.
The two photos on the right are my favorites–a boy and his Boop.