We had a whirlwind of a great day Saturday. All 13 of us packed into two vehicles to head for Boston for a fun family day. My seat was assigned by Calvin. I was informed, by him, that I would be sitting in the back of their Toyota SUV with him.
After I somehow managed to squeeze my 225-pound, petite, non-muscular body into my spot, climbing through a gap between Chloe and Colton in the middle row, the questions began. Rapid-fire, one-after-another, non-stop “Grampa, why” continued for 90 minutes until I was faced with the challenge of climbing out of my place in the sardine can into the expanse of a Boston parking garage.
A day of learning followed. Nana read every educational sign from phytoplankton to Weedy Sea Dragons, Colton decided it was finally time to do some real walking beyond three steps and a lunge and Ethan was wide-eyed exploring all the things he’s seen in his animal encyclopedias. Chloe marched forward, directing the troops, with no idea where she was going and I could see Emma studying the colors and shapes and movements of everything. I suspect we will see them influencing her creations this week.
Calvin made a great discovery that he was very excited to show everyone. “Look Grampa, those penguins are playing! That penguin is laying on top of the other penguin and they are both flapping really fast! Everyone, come see what I found!!!” All gathered in amazement to watch as I quietly sneaked off ahead of our crowd to avoid, “Grampa, why are they playing like that?” I figured I’d leave that one for their parents.
After lunch, we made it to the Museum of Science and saw only one wing again. It’s the same wing we always see that focuses on math and engineering and the very sciencey stuff of science. We Linscotts interact with interactive exhibits while Nana teaches and I take pictures and push buttons here and there.
If I can pull it off before July 31 when our membership expires, we’re going to go down again in the morning, skip the penguin playland, and go straight to the museum of science to explore the rest of it. Let’s leave the math and engineering stuff alone and head into the section that focuses on living things, planets and how the world works.
After feasting on Cheesecake Factory deliciousness, and laughing at Colton enjoying time with Auntie Laura and Uncle Jake, it was time for the journey back to Maine. No one was interested in switching spots with me, even for money, so I was in for another 90 minutes of Curious Cal while we listened to the Red Sox.
“Grampa what does it mean that he grew up in the Dominican?” (Radio announcer said it about Devers.)
That’s the country where he lived.
“Oh, but what does ‘he grew up’ mean?”
It means he successfully completed being born, getting older and not getting sick and dying. He grew up.
“He never got sick???”
No, he got sick like everyone gets sick but he didn’t die. So, he grew up and turned into an adult successfully.
Silence as the wheels turned in his little brain.
“Grampa, am I Dominican?”
By this point, his dad is laughing so hard in the front seat that he’s crying.
No, buddy. You were born in America. You are an American.
“Grampa, are the Red Sox still up to bat? What does “to the warning track’ mean? Did he strike out? Is the other team ahead? What are “extra innings?” Is that cheating to have a guy on second before anybody is even batting? I think it’s cheating. How many more minutes till we are home? My back hurts. Is Chloe sleeping? Was that a strike or a ball? …
We pulled up to our house and I somehow managed to wrangle myself out of the back once more without pulling even a single muscle.
“Bye Grampa! See you tomorrow!”
I am doing a good deal of reflecting, just 12 days from the tenth anniversary of my liver transplant. I remember celebrating each year completed but five years of survival was a milestone. Now, 10 years, is another. Only 52% of people transplanted before age 65 survive to see this milestone. That’s a little better than a coin flip.
Since that summer of 2012, I have not had a single overnight stay in a hospital. Other than the normalcy of life with a suppressed immune system and having tons of colds, flu, and ear, nose, and throat infections, I have cruised to this milestone with just one minor rejection scare.
Ten years ago today I was laying on a couch begging God to give me an end. I was working on a letter to my wife and each of my kids, urging them to go on with life. I remember being so afraid they would be angry at God.
God did not give me an end. His plan was to give me a beginning. And after Saturday with my crew and holding hands with my oldest grandchild in the backseat of a Toyota Highlander, watching grandchild number 5 beaming with pride as we celebrated his first real walking success, and walking behind my youngest son holding hands with his two adoring nephews, I have to admit that my eyes keep filling with thankful tears.
Today is bonus day number 3638. I have only 12 days left to come up with my 10-year tattoo. Maybe Robin has suggestions? (She HATES tats!)