Every now and then, fate brings you gifts. This past week, I spent time getting to know my cousin, who I have not seen in over 35 years. Those were years of our youth, our growth, our history; years that formed who we are today. While it was great to rediscover family history, share stories, visit with her husband and lovely daughter Marissa, the real gift, the highlight of our visit, was a 7 year old, her grandson Kristopher.
Many of you know I have two amazing daughters. Raising my girls was the best part of my life. Their little minds constantly amazed me, their thoughts and questions challenged me, and their perceptions made me examine things closer, and differently. I was lucky, I didn’t have to help them much with homework,.. they didn’t really need my help, they were so smart. What they did need was enough interest to keep them engaged, challenged and open to sharing. I was lucky, I had a family to help me with raising my girls. Meeting Kris brought all the fun and excitement of those days back again!
When I met Kris, there was an immediate bond, from the first hug, and the first conversations. I saw what I had seen in my children, all over again. Before me was one of the brightest, creative little intellectuals I have ever met. You all know that I am always amazed with talented, creative people and constantly seek to learn what I do not know, but who would have thought I’d learn so much from a 7 year old! The family stayed with me, so we had lots of time to fill. It’s been a while since I have had little ones, and being pack-rat I am, I had saved those board games, the ones typical for a 7 year old, like Candyland, Sorry, Battleship. However, I knew immediately, these would not do for this 7 year old. His language, and reasoning skills were far beyond those games, so we pulled out Pente, Othello, and eventually Chess. Yes Chess! ( which he learned immediately!) Kris swiftly beat me at several games, you know.. I was going to take it easy on him at first. that lasted just one game. After that, all bets were off, and at that point it was every man or woman for themselves!
I was lucky being able to spend the better part of a day with Kris in downtown Tallahassee at Kleman Plaza. We visited the Florida Museum of History, talked about and stood with the Seminole Indians and a giant Mammoth. We explored a riverboat deck and a citrus packing plant, we listened to the radio broadcast of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s address following Pearl Harbor. We completed a scavenger hunt took a photo beside a movie poster of Alec Baldwin,..who he resembles, only pint sized. From there, we explored the Mary Brogan Science Museum learning how sound travels, about weight distribution and gravity. We walked through and art show and saw a jacket made of staples, millions of them.. and we both wondered why that was art. We watched two 3-D movies at the IMax theater about the filming of an African safari, and lastly Puss N Boots – the highlight of the day. Tallahassee, Florida has a lot to offer kids from museums, science, recreation to nature.
More than the games, there was the conversation and the amazing depth of compassion for others, and his inherent understanding of the literal and the figurative, of reality and of creativity. Kris probably doesn’t realize at his age the potential he possesses, but I do. I wonder do his teachers know, do others notice or take the time to explore and uncover the layers of his personality and knowledge to get to his core. The possibilities for Kris are wide open. Will our world be big enough for him, will our society value his offerings? Those are the questions I have and was left with as he traveled home. I can only hope so. He is our future, and the future is bright! I can’t wait for Kris to return to Tallahassee and our next big adventure! Debbie and Kris’s Big Adventure