My two precious grandchildren were visiting Saturday, and if you want a taste of the simple life, just sit and observe a 6-year-old and 3-year-old. For some reason, ours have a fascination with our attic.
We have one of those attics that I grew up with (except it’s completely floored), with the retractable stairs in the hall ceiling. Charlotte, the little one, has always been willing to do anything physically challenging, so she has always climbed right up and climbed back down without a hitch. Caroline, the older one, could read at an insanely early age but has always been wary of the physical realm, so it took her a couple of years to get comfortable with climbing up and down.
At any rate, now they are two attic fans (no pun intended!) and can’t understand why most of the year, they can’t climb up and stay up there for an hour or so. In the summer, it’s too hot, and in the winter, it’s too cold. They had luck this week, though, because Maine has been experiencing unseasonably cool and rainy weather, and the temperature was perfect for some attic visiting. One by one they climbed up. Before long, they decided to make their own “room.” This entailed scouring the corners of the attic in search of things they wanted in their “room.” I had to nix Charlotte’s idea of “wallpapering the walls” with rolls of my Christmas wrapping paper, but other than that, I pretty much let them have their way. They took the wrapping paper roll and put a lampshade on it to make it a lamp. They took a stool, a kid’s rocker, and a booster chair to sit on. I got tickled when half the things they found, they asked me, “Grammy, what is this?” Of course, it didn’t matter what it was intended for; they wanted it in their “room.” They had it all - shoe racks, teapots, pieces of ribbon, sewing kit, dish strainer, suitcase, miscellaneous books - quite a collection. When they finished (the only way they decided they were finished is the fact that their parents called them down to get into their pajamas and leave), I had them pose in their “room” and took a picture of their smiling, proud faces.
That’s really the essence of simplicity - you don’t waste time wishing you had more things or different things - you just work with what you’ve got. You find the valuable things in unlikely places and find creative ways to use them. I, of course, spent part of the time wondering if I should put everything back or leave everything for their next visit, and the rest of the time trying to keep them from falling down the stairs as they searched for treasures. When Caroline asked if I could keep the “room” intact for a while, I promised I’d try, and that elicited, “Grammy, you’re the best Grammy in the whole world!” and a big hug from both girls. It was then I realized that all three of us had indeed found our treasures.