A Good Home

Hide and Seek & Other Things

My sister said: “You tun drunkard!” Which is Jamaican for: “You’ve turned into a drunkard”.

All because, over the first four weeks of Russia’s war on Ukraine, I drank a total of 9 bottles of beer. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but for me, it’s a lot – and my sister knows it.

Which is why, despite what’s happening in the world, I am trying to keep my gaze downward these days. At the small green shoots that will become blooming tulips, daffodils and crocuses later this month.

At the trout in the stream, preparing to spawn.

At my sweet grandtoddler, who is a daily marvel.

It’s been so long since my daughters were toddlers that I’d forgotten the many daily developments of two year-olds: the language and math skills that expand day to day; the flashes of humour and mischief; the endless fascination with hide-and-seek.

She used to hide while we, pretending to not know where she was, would call out all the many places we were searching for her.

“She’s not behind the door!”

“She’s not under the chair!”

“I wonder where she could be?”

And she, unable to stop herself, would giggle and call back, loudly: “No!”

Recently, the pattern changed. She loves hiding under the large dining tables at her home and ours; sooner or later, parents and grandparents are invited to hide with her there.

It led us to ask her: “But if we’re all hiding here, who’s going to find us?”

“Hmmm…” she replied, considering the problem.

She crept from under the table – to pretend to look for us, we thought. But no. Instead, she ran through the house, giggling, pausing in the dining room each time only to make sure we were still there, crouched under the table.

GrandToddler loves to run and dance, especially to Bob Marley music, (though now she has added Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to her preferred playlist). She calls our names one by one, commands us: “Come!” We all have to dance and run behind her. Her parents are new homeowners and there’s no furniture in the living room, which makes it an ideal spot for dancing and running.

These are moments of pure joy – moments in which, like her, we live in the absolute present.

The thing with having children or grandchildren, of course, is that one minute you’re feeling pure delight at what they do, and the next you find yourself worrying about things you can’t control. You want them to never be in the danger. You want the world they inherit to be a good place. You find yourself praying more than usual.

Someone once defined the difference between liberals and conservatives this way: Liberals want to make the world a better place for both our loved ones and others; they want to fix what’s wrong with the world. Conservatives accept the world as it is and try to make the best lives for themselves and the people who matter to them within it.

I can’t help but think of all the conservatives and liberals I know who put their families first, but simply cannot accept the world as it is today.

Why is one country allowed to hold the world hostage? Why are the oligarchs of the world (not only Russian ones) allowed to have seemingly unchecked power? Why do some western societies still have monarchs? Why on earth did it take so long to get an African-American woman on the supreme court? And when do we start taking overdue action to stop the damage to the world’s environment and climate?

Luckily, I don’t stress about all these things at once – it would be too much, and all the beer in the world wouldn’t help. Plus, I need to pay attention to a fast-moving two year-old.

So I take care of my family and do what I can to contribute to the causes I support. And I think about the good in the world – especially in my small world of friends, faith community, and family. Like the giggle of a two year-old dancing and running with her family, it helps to calms an anxious mind.

37 thoughts on “Hide and Seek & Other Things”

  1. I enjoyed this post immensely. Your grandtoddler sounds like an absolute delight. She and all the other toddlers need to inherit a world in which all people are valued and there is no war.

  2. Cynthia, you do such a good job of reminding us of the joy to be found in playing with and watching a 2-year old. That time goes so fast; enjoy every minute. You also do a good job of describing the angst and despair so many of us feel at what is happening to our world. Or maybe it’s that what has been a reality for so many for so long is now impossible for us to ignore. πŸ˜₯

  3. Thank you, Cynthia, for summing up the state of the world’s worries that are troubling us and sharing the delight of your playful granddaughter who is a perfect antidote. I listened to the two part Ideas series on Middlemarch which described how the author showed empathy and sympathy for all her characters no matter what their foibles. We still have the CBC.

  4. Thank you for sharing your joys and worries Cynthia. That is part of caring deeply, especially being a loving grandmother. I’m glad you have a granddaughter to keep you engaged and distracted. When all else fails, bring out the beer! πŸ’•

  5. There is nothing more exciting than watching a child discover a world where everything is new to them. It seems there is always something sad or horrific going on in this world. I used to play bomb shelter when I was a kid (thanks to the USSR). It is hard to understand why we humans can’t get along.

  6. I turned to cider but like you I am not a drinker. It took me 4 days to drink my way through a 500ml bottle. πŸ˜€ Concentrating on the beautiful moments of the present is a more fruitful occupation. It’s lovely to have another story about your gorgeous granddaughter.

    1. Thanks for your lovely reply, my friend. I smiled at imagining you working your way through that cider. In fairness, I drank that beer bit by bit too. Sometimes it was flat after days in the fridge.

  7. You have made some good choices, although I would opt for a nice dry white wine! πŸ™‚
    Yes, the world seems much more tangled and distorted and fearful than I have previously experienced. A toddler would be refreshing! Blessings to you, Cynthia!

  8. Thanks for these reflections Cynthia. I love how you move from the pure joy of watching a toddler’s developing mind to the anxious conundrums of adult and political life. If only some of the world’s most narcissistic leaders were even half as grounded as this!

  9. Your granddaughter is beautiful, Cynthia, and she is growing so quickly! She is a precious child!

    I did not remember that you had trout in your stream, too! Wild fish are a joy to watch. This time of year offers so many blessings and things of beauty, even with the crazy, shifting weather patterns, often all in one day. Daffodils are a sign of hope and a promise of good things to come. Keep looking down, all the way to the Lilliputian realm of mosses and lichens. They too, express their unique joy in life, in spite of what is happening around them.

    I am with you in spirit, dear friend, even if I cannot be there to help with things.

    1. I love that, Lavinia. “Daffodils are a sign of hope and a promise of good things to come.” You are such a soulful writer and a good friend. Love to all of you there.

  10. Your grand-daughter is growing up beautifully and looks like there’s a lot of mischief in those eyes! The world can feel overwhelming so it’s good to have those things close to home to focus on.

  11. Looking down can be a comfort especially when there are such sweet things on the ground as in your case. Your granddaughter is sweet and certainly helps to take your mind off things. I wish our world weren’t run by psychopaths and we could all live in peace. As for “one country holding the world hostage” – I don’t quite agree. It’s rather a sick elite playing games with us all…and they’re all over the world. Nothing is ever black and white. Take care and keep your chin up.

  12. Finally had a chance to read this, couldn’t agree with you more Cynthia! Thank goodness for Grandtoddlers and spring gardens, they bring peace and joy to our lives in a world gone mad.

  13. Such are the themes that the Existential writers questioned one hundred years ago after the carnage of the Boar Wars and World War I, as the fascists and Nazi’s grabbed power across Europe and Asia (with Africa and the Middle East caught up in the land-grabs). Meanwhile, most folks back then were trying to live their lives, survive, and find some pleasure along the way… not much has changed. Keep seeking the good around you. -Oscar

  14. Honestly, Cynthia, if I were to think about all that’s going on in the world all at the same time? I’d be fetching myself a beer, too. I think a granddaughter would be an immense relief from it, as you know so well, but I also think that focusing on the love within us and just sharing as much as we can, is what’s ultimately going to make the difference. If not love, what is there?
    Hope you’re well. πŸ™‚

  15. Very interesting post!
    I suppose, these questions you asked bother many people.
    It’s sad, but the nowadays world is regulated by huge money and corporations. In case of war, we can see how some huge powers can lie and do anything they practically want. The fear of nuclear attacks is so intense that it has become possible to hold all the world hostage.
    Well, nobody wants war to spread and spill over.
    It is really a situation which isn’t helped by support and good will only. I’m staying hopeful that by the end of summer the situation might change, but who knows.
    The only we want is to live peacefully and allow others to enjoy their life. Our time is very limited here, but some powers and also people believe they can do whatever crosses their ming. Think, greed, personal hate and ambitions.
    All the best to you!

  16. Oh wow–I hadn’t read this when I wrote my most recent blog but we were channeling the same topic–Ukraine on our mind. I’m so glad you’re finding ways to be in the moment–and kids are such a wonderful way to keep ourselves there. Enjoy the moment and I’ll try to stay in it with you!

  17. I really chime with this post. Only the endless busyness and happiness of our grandchildren (3 of them now!) can distract me from the desperate people and places in the world, and these still haunt me in the night. On the subject of hide and seek, our three-and-a-half-year-old still insists on his version – he chooses a hiding place tells you where, then makes you shut your eyes and count!

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