My granddaughter, being ten, as I said, made a most companionable escort. Let me speak of her charms:
- complete dexterity enabling her to make herself comfortable in a car, including but not limited to feet out the window, seat back and milk shake balanced on the arm rest or curled up sound asleep with head on the middle arm rest, one foot out the window and one on the radio
- a smile for everyone, especially anyone looking sad - including befriending a group of seven Hutterite (think Amish) girls who looked distinctly out of place and quite uncomfortable
- a joyful comment on every situation - 'see Mimi! everything that happens turns out good, even the bad things like me having to go to the bathroom as soon as we got a long ways away from a bathroom!'
- ability to suck the juices out of life - one afternoon we were sitting at a little table, surrounded by others and noise and food and life. We had laid out our water color paints and were painting the falls, and a musician was playing his guitar nearby. It was a peak moment. We emptied three boxes of Smarties (think M&M's only better chocolate) and lined them up according to color ... so we had rows of green and red and purple and brown etc. The girl could not contain her delight in the perfect moment. People stopped to see our rather amateurish art and she engaged every one with charm and joy
- no need to compete, with me or anyone. She is absolutely able to live bodily in the moment. I sadly know that in a few short years she will begin to doubt herself. Let it not be so, but our girls seem to be assaulted from within around eleven or twelve
- free of self consciousness. We bought a bright pink hat with hanging plush balls all around, which she proudly wore everywhere we went
- flexibility - when the plan changed and we did not do or see something she was completely agreeable
So... what could be more delightful? We tried to see all the real things (aka Marineland, Butterfly Atrium, Maid of the Mist boat, a few wild carnival rides etc) and avoid the crass entertainment (aka Hall of Horrors, Ripley's Believe it or Not, etc.) We saw the falls from all angles: from the cliff walk alongside, from the air (the Skyline Wheel), from the water (Maid of the Mist boat in which we got soaked to the bone much to her delight), and from a high bridge (Peace Bridge from the US).
Also noted is I taught her to 'petooohee' which is to spit your gum out through the open window on the opposite side of the car as you speed down the highway. (This last feat was the most trying, as I had to suffer several packs of gum landing, piece by piece, on my person, having not quite made it out the window.) These are the things only a gramma can teach. Leave the small things like grooming, coping with friendships, doing homework etc. to parents.
So I am home and stored deep in my grandkid is a good piece of healthy love for her to draw on. In the future I am going to try to be more like her.