Jean Croker Petke

Walked any fences lately?

Walked any fences lately?

The Boy (grandson, age 3) is teaching me about joy and surprise and adventure and excitement and “Look at that Gramma!!” You see, I don’t normally gush or exude much emotion in my regular life. But when he’s around I see the world differently. Together we discover all kinds of things.

A few weeks ago we spent the weekend at Shaker Village near Harrodsburg, KY. The March Saturday was cold and wet but that didn’t deter us. The Boy and I donned raincoats, mittens, scarves, hats, and boots. With umbrellas for protection, off we went — rainwalking. And puddlejumping. And pickingupleavesandrocks.

I can’t remember the last time I chose to go rainwalking.

My smallest adult umbrella was difficult for him. He looked like a mushroom walking down the road — just legs with a black canopy. I’m not sure he even knew what a mushroom was, but it didn’t matter.

Sunday dawned gorgeous but cold. We were grateful for the rain’s departure as we soaked up the sunshine and explored the barns. We petted the goats, saw the barn cat, and met the cows. We stood on the fence rail, replying to their mooing and discussing their muddy feet and legs.

While his parents were in the gift shop, The Boy and I were left to our own devices for entertainment. Yesterday’s puddles begged him to jump. I leaned against the white board fence while I watched him splash. I quickly checked the top board — it was about 6″ wide. “Come here,” I said to The Boy. I picked him up and sat him on the top board. The fence was too tall for me to stand him up. “This fence is perfect for walking,” I said. I took hold of his hand. “Stand up!” I directed. He was a little hesitant. “I’ll hold your hand so you won’t fall.” His Batman boots (with capes) made standing up a little awkward. “Let’s walk to the end of the fence. Want to?” He didn’t answer; he just started walking, holding tight to my hand for reassurance. After slow first steps he quickly mastered putting one foot precisely in front of the other.

At the newel post he realized we had run out of fence. “Now what we gonna to do?” he asked.

“We’re going to turn around and walk the other way,” I said. Turning was a challenge, but he managed without letting go of my hand. We walked the length of the fence at least six times. His comment at both ends was always “Now what we gonna do?”

Since then I’ve been pondering a few questions:

Have you done any fence walking lately? Have you gotten out of your norm and learned something new? Have you had someone nearby to encourage and reassure you?

Have you looked at your world like a three-year-old? Have you experienced wonder and excitement? Have you gushed about anything lately, like you’ve just seen it for the first time?

If you think you’ve seen it all, that you’ve already been there and done that — you need to spend some time with a child.

Your world will break open in ways you’ve never known or have long since forgotten.

Until next Tuesday . . .



6 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Pam Baker-Redman -

    LOVE it Jean! I love the wide-eyed innocence & viewing the world brand new…through the eyes of a child. So many FIRST TIMES to look forward too. Somehow it all makes us younger for seeing our world fresh & new!


    If everyone had a grandchild to jump into puddles with to forget their problems, this world would be a much better place.

  • DeEtta Eberhardt -

    Absolutely!!! I’m so thankful for my 3 little energy bundles at this time in my life. They make you do things you haven’t been able to do in quite a while. You see things through their eyes that make you smile. And that laughter, oh my goodness what a blessing. I may not live long enough to see them get married but I’ve gotten to enjoy the simple things agiain, like watching ants, playing in mud puddles and………

  • Joan B. Wilson -

    “You see, I don’t normally gush or exude much emotion in my regular life.” Is this the Jean I play Scrabble with????

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