On vacation in Vermont with paterfamilias plus one grown child and his family, I take a yoga class. The yogi (a woman who also teaches paddleboard yoga--yoga on a board that's bobbing in a lake. I'm just saying....) starts class with thoughtful time. She talks about the integration of inner independence with outer-world dependence, about how feeling the quiet of the inner self connects us to others.
It's a lot to take in before a round of Vinyasas, but her words come back to me that afternoon. I was at the swimming pool observing my three Grands and their parents at play in the water. The teen-aged boy (15) likes testing his dad--who can throw the pool-drenched tennis ball harder, dive deeper for a stone, make a bigger splash. The two girls (13 and 8) are young enough to spend inordinate amounts of time practicing their underwater handstands and challenging each other to one silly game after another. Then while everyone's attention was at maximum outer-dependence, the 8 year old was in water just beyond her swim abilities. Thinking she was in trouble, her brother rushed over and whisked her up. She hadn't been floundering, she insisted, and there was much ado about who did what to whom against their will. Family relationships can be as shaky as yoga on a paddleboard.
These mundane bits and pieces of their day-to-day lives are for us--their grandparents who live far from them--a rare moment of pleasure. Sitting still and enjoying the simple act of watching, we see how the parents (our grown kids) and kids (our grandkids) push and pull toward and against each other. Lucky us to b part of these moments of integrated inner independence and outer dependence that keep them (and us) connected.