The Intersting Things I Learn

In my newly reinvented life I am finding time for special pursuits. I try to be certain that these experiences will be positive and rewarding – no one needs downers! As a result, I am finding kind, wonderful, and informative individuals everywhere. I spent time in my granddaughter’s kindergarten class. Her teacher allowed me to mix right in and work with the students, something that I love. Since names are printed on their desks, I have the advantage of greeting kids personally. “Hello, Desmond [s sounded as z],” I announced. “How is your story coming along?” He looked at me in wonder and then with a bit of disdain, “It’s Desmond [s with an s sound],” he uttered. “Let me tell you a bit about phonics.” Kindergarten! I loved it my quick lesson. I later learned that the Desmond with a “z” had gone home sick prior to my arrival so then I better understood my mini-phonics tutorial.

I sat with my grandson during lunch (and an amazingly healthy hot lunch arrived!). A boy across from us took an instant interest in my presence, asking who I was, why I was there, what I was doing, when I’d be leaving, and when I’d be returning. I answered in rapid fire until finally he paused. “You look a lot older than my Grandma,” he conveyed with a wince. I acknowledged that probably I was but I was still Dayne’s grandma. He pondered this, then responded, “You know, you’d look way younger if you would color your hair. My grandma does and she looks way younger than you do.” I smiled and thought about the gray strands adorning my head.

I explained that I didn’t want to color my hair, that I was happy with it, and thanked him for his input. Not to be deterred he reminded me several more times how much better I would look, and so much younger, if I just got rid of that terrible gray stuff. I laughed, scratched my head in wonder, and then happily removed myself from the scene when we were finally dismissed. Unsolicited advice is quite enlightening (and I do not infer the lightening change of my hair!).I can’t wait to meet this gentleman’s grandma. I’ll be returning to Dayne and Bryn’s classrooms in a few weeks – what other insight might be shared?

Locally I took part in the first presentation of a special movie night focused on forgetfulness, brain injury, PTSD, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. A group is seeking ways to educate our community about behaviors, attitudes, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations in an open atmosphere of learning. One of our crew members received a comment questioning why we would be showing 50 First Dates, a film focused on traumatic brain injury, when someone in attendance, a loved one, or a caregiver might be present who might have such a decline. Well, that’s the point. If we discuss confusion, forgetfulness, every day/hour/minute becoming a new moment in life that disregards connections of instances that took place just beforehand, we can better support a loved one who has cognitive difficulty.

I had no idea that Adam Sandler could portray such a kind and sensitive role as he does in this movie – loving Drew Barrymore regardless of her memory loss and daily replication of life. I admire the loving reactions of her father to ease her stress about forgetting. One of the most profound statements reflects Sandler’s belief that every kiss should be just like the first one – sweet, tender, honest, committed. I go beyond that with every sunrise and sunset, every encounter and discussion, every hug and utterance, should be as rich and as meaningful as the first. Sandler the philosopher – wow!

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