Childhood re-visited

My husband pointed at the blue glasses in the cupboard. “You choose every glass except that one,” he scolded.
I just looked at him and his fuss over glasses.
“That’s the one with the egg under it,” he explained.
I should have known. A couple of weeks ago he insisted on buying two bags of spring colored M&M’s, repackaging them into our stash of plastic eggs and hiding the eggs all around the house.
I have been finding chocolate-filled eggs every since – under my pillow, beside my toothbrush, in the tiny teapot my father gave me long ago, in the dresser drawers, tucked into stacks of fabric, and inside the bookends on the head of our bed.
Most folks think he is just another old-timer with lots of energy and ideas. I think he verges on entering his second childhood with the advantages of all the experience and knowledge of the grandfather.
That’s all very fine and well, but I had a grandson in mind when I bought that wooden kit to assemble that included a tiny machine to make it move. He looked at it longingly. “Who is this for?”
“I don’t know. I thought maybe it could be done with a grandchild,” I said as I dashed about preparing to go to work.
He studied the box. He opened it and dumped out the parts.
The kit had never been opened, but it had been by the time I returned from work that day. He had opened, assembled, tested and found it wanting. “The machine is too small for the weight of the wood,” he announced.
A month ago it was the child’s electric car waiting for the trash man. I suggested we bring it home and see if it still worked or if he could get it working. I also insisted that he not put a lot of money into the repairs.
Like every other kid on the block, he did not listen. He calls it his Cadillac, this two-seater with a place for a working radio. He began making plans – big plans for that car.
He quickly analyzed that an incorrectly sized fuse had melted the wires on the accelerator. He ordered another and went shopping for paint.
“Wait until you get the part,” I reiterated.
“It will work. I know it will. I tested the circuits. They all work.”
I could not park my car in the garage that night. He had turned it into a paint shop for the Cadillac Escalade.
He gave the large plastic car a fresh coat of paint and waited for the part to arrive. It did not arrive before the grandchildren visited, but that did not keep him or his 20-month-old grandson from having a lot of fun with that car.
Grandpa and Daddy pushed tiny tot up and down the driveway in the car. The kid grinned with sheer joy. He was driving a car. When they parked it, he didn’t care …. he opened the door, climbed in and kept on exploring that car. He loved it as much as Grandpa.
Long after the little driver left, the part came. Maybe the Cadillac would work, but hubby found other problems to resolve. He bought another battery and charger.
It still did not go.
He drew schematics of the electrical circuit. He studied the wiring harness, the fuses, the accelerator and other linkage points. He talked with the neighbor, his building buddies, the guy at the repair shop, anyone who might or might not know something – including me.
With the accelerator in place and a careful sizing of fuses, he declared it running and went looking for a test driver. “You really can’t tell for sure if you don’t have a child driving it,” he explained.
The neighbor’s son showed that it went faster backward than forward. My husband switched some gears around and declared it ready for decals.
He ordered them Monday. While he waited on them, I showed him the Lego soccer set I had purchased at a yard sale.
“I wonder if all the parts are here?” I said. I left the box on the table and went to work on an adult project.
Happy as a child at Christmas time, he picked up the Lego soccer game, dumped out the plastic bags, opened the instructions and began building.
“It only has 10 men, and I think it’s missing a flag,” he said.
I walked over and looked at the box. “That’s all the men it shows on the front of the box.”
He sorted out the pieces and began assembling a green playing field.
Long before I finished my project he proudly called me over to demonstrate how it had all the parts and that it moved for playing the game. Then he took it all apart and put it back in the box until the next time.
He may be a kid at heart, but he does a pretty good job of picking up his toys and putting them away.