Aside from the ability to fly, Peter Pan does not have a whole lot on either Teresa or I. We simply refuse to grow up.
Admittedly, because of the many stressors life can throw in one’s path, I have waned somewhat in the past few years from always remembering the multiple joys bestowed upon one while living in our fast-paced world.
In fact, there have been a few times lately when I have felt downright depressed, burned out, and old. Recently, however, two wonderful bundles of energy and joy have rekindled our lust for life and thirst for youth.
Teresa’s daughter Lisa and granddaughter Taylor have moved into our home. Thankfully, life is just not the same.
Lisa is a vivacious, outgoing, hardworking, and spunky young woman in her mid-20s and Taylor is an absolutely charming, energetic, bubbly three-year-old filled with all the wide-eyed wonderment that comes with that precious age.
To suggest there is seldom a dull moment in the Hodge household nowadays is certainly no statement of exaggeration. The house echoes with giggles.
The new state of exuberance and chaos around the home has only been in motion for about a month, however, already there are plenty of telltale signs that a three-year old rules the roost in our home.
The backyard has a smattering of kid’s toys and games strewn about, as does every room within the house itself.
Our beat up old television is permanently set to channel 44 (the kid’s channel), the old record player is stacked with a collection of Raffi records, stuffed animals and dolls reside in every chair and sitting area awaiting to be called into action, and our three cats sleep with one eye open while perched in relatively high up, semi-safe locations.
‘Gamma’ and ‘Gampa’ no longer remember what sleeping in is. But I have become pleasantly adjusted to waking up in the wee hours of the morning with my forehead or cheeks being prodded by the gentle fingers of Taylor.
There is something surprisingly warming and rewarding about opening one’s eyes up out of a deep sleep only to be stared down at by the smiling, giggling face of a three-year-old angel.
Only my precious Taylor could possibly get away with such an early morning wake up call.
But without question, the most obvious telltale sign that our life has been redialed by an exuberant youngster is that every window, door and wall in the house is totally covered or plastered in Halloween decorations.
Now in fairness, Tez and I are already semi-addicted to decorating our house during certain festive occasions such as Christmas or Easter.
However, with Taylor about Tez has rekindled her love for going full out on the celebrative decor.
Admittedly, I have long been known for going a little over the top with Christmas decorations, but other than the Yuletide season I have remained relatively boring and stoic in my holiday decorating.
Teresa, on the other hand, is clearly in her element again, with Taylor providing the perfect excuse.
That fact was made abundantly clear to me Tuesday when I suggested that we really did not need to decorate the tree in our front yard with more than “a couple” of the home-made handcrafted, paper-stuffed ghosts and jack-o-lanterns.
“Surely six or seven of these is enough,” I suggested slightly begrudging, realizing I was about to be sent out into the cold night air to hang the damn things in the tree.
“What do you mean? We need at least 20 of them,” Teresa replied as she and Taylor continued to manufacture the homemade decorations by stuffing crumpled up newspaper into white and orange coloured plastic bags.
“Well, why? Taylor is only three. It’s not like she is going to remember if there was four or 40,” I grumbled for no real legitimate reason except old age.
“So who cares? Lisa and I will remember and besides, we can take pictures,” she countered, making it clear that my protests would have no weight, and that I was outvoted on the issue two to one. (Three to one if I included Lisa’s proxy vote).
“Besides, we’re having fun, so there,” she grinned, stuffing another ghost bag full of newspaper.
I was all set to counter the point with another feeble argument when little Taylor looked up at me, chocolate pudding smeared on her face, and said, “I wuv you, Gampa.”
I ceased my protest and did what any good grandpa would do at such a moment. I sauntered to the record player, flipped over the Raffi record, and turned up the volume.
So today, the Hodge house looks like a Halloween maze, complete with pumpkin lights, ghosts in trees, skeletons in windows, and every other eerie, spooky decoration feasible to man.
And the fun is just beginning. On Monday, we get to make costumes. Actually, I can hardly wait—just don’t tell Tez or Lisa.
And oh yeah, Peter Pan has nothing on us.