How to play golf

72716012_2256422671314635_1198701341971578880_n (2).jpg

Find equipment. Divide and separate. Even though there is a good wide acre, every swing will shave a cousin’s ear, which neither will notice. Place hands up, hands down, hands anywhere, and aim delicately.

Ignore parental advice. The white ball is everything. Muscles, feet, dinner and yesterday, all blur.

Noah can imitate a professional stance quite well. They both like the grass. The ball, when hit successfully, makes a rich white click and causes them to stop still and swallow.

73038915_390200765197068_5972558389123743744_n (4).jpg

 

The grandsons come for lunch

20190616_145103

Noah and Max are here for lunch. And now they have their own table. Away from authority. They have the table that holds shells, stones and sand, seemingly underwater.

I saw them pause and look down into it, into the bits and pieces, roundies and pretties and apparently, snakes!

I asked, but where are the snakes?

Noah said, gone! They have quick eyes, the two year olds.

There’s a tiny glass bottle, bent in a curve. As though it turned to peer at something and was caught in the furnace of its own curiosity. It melted in a curve like a fried banana, the colour of burnt sugar, yellow lights still winking through it.

Max said, lollies! But there’s no lollies.

Just cool polished agates, malachite chunks like sugarless jubes, a slab of rock layered with such precision that the praline, sandstone and bitter caramel ribbons seem preserved, a slice of glass, a piece of something to be chosen and placed in a paper bag.

The boys, pausing, holding their bowls of food, run their infant eyes over all of these ideas and thought…. what?

What data from this trading table of family and geological history downloaded itself into their galloping infant minds? We won’t know. They have found that they can roar and spit cake at each other. An unalloyed joy.

The starfish, the pieces of amber and the green light of malachite sink to a deeper level. They’ll return to it.

20190616_145028.jpg

The Jumping Pillow

 

2019-04-18 10.14.31.jpg

The jumping pillow is where all the kids in the camping park go to jump. They park their bikes there and hang up helmets, shoes and adult advice. And the parents stand watching and looking and remembering. The kids are like thistles or bits of foam or something, weightless, agile, arms and legs all over the place and always six feet in the air without even trying. When they land they bounce again, at least as high as the moon. When one kid bumps another kid they always say “sorry.”

Gravity  lets them stay on their toes. Adults who try it out, however, thud heavily downwards and then head off disappointed for another beer and a new hip.

One kid ran from one end to the other in big moon strides. He was about 8 and master of gravity. He ran into Noah and Max, my grandsons, and said, sorry, with an encouraging face. This is because my grandsons are only two and even a tiny blow to that jumping pillow will refer them sideways, backwards or skywards. Their heads and necks bend like reeds and their hearts go with their bones. It is as though being only two means that the moving surface of anything will still send you in the richest and most rewarding direction.

The whole day, full of day

52739757_2081148048627906_5666038126670249984_n.jpg

On the last day of the holiday to Port Vincent, the family is packing up and packing in and running for the deadline of vacate the property by eleven am etc. but the boys, who are not quite two, and a bit more than two, have found a garden bed that apparently wasn’t there before.
In it is an attractive collection of wet bark chips and curly wood shavings that were not there before. There is also, underneath, a bed of earth that was not there before. There is also a level lovely plank to stand on, lean on, climb on, balance over, fly from, that was not there before. From this lofty height they watch the packing up, watch the potty as it is carried past to be repacked and they watch it with narrowed eyes. They will defeat it. They will not use it.
There are parent warnings but these are always there. These are signals of caution, dull, predictable and vital to measure the importance of one’s existence. The existence of Max and Noah is paramount and so they are surrounded with concerns and reminders, cautions and nags, the watch and the overwatch, fuelled by love and by its necessity which is love.
Noah and Max climb and clamour and ignore the warnings, scale the heights and run onto the road outrageously, ignorant, unheeding of parent agony, not giving a shit for the correct rules. They do not even use the potty with precision.

One day they will be 17 and they will say for fuck’s sake and so will pierce safety with the correct rage and anger because one time long ago they were adored and told repeatedly to get off the fence.

Heat

tap.png

Thursday is too hot to open the shop. I stay home and Max comes to visit and although the heat floats around the house in soft, ticking waves he is unconcerned, he enters the drift delighted and he will find the tap, the hose, the sand, the stones, the buckets, regardless of advice. And so we sit out in it, enfolded and silent and the garden is falling, losing its height under the staggering weight of heat. Even the galahs, normally rummaging through noise and conflict, sit in lax groups, speechless, their black eyes stare down at us in amazement.
Max has made a pond with a peg and three shells and cold water. The hose, which was a melting length of green confectionary is now cooled. The tap, its head and mouth tipped with boiling metal is now tranquil. The bricks leading to the sandpit, slabs of unconcerned strength, are now watered and calm. Max has a tiny horse, a tractor and half a tennis ball and he works on in the shadows, mixing water with his treasure, adding cold cakes of wet sand, squatting beneath the shimmering surface of the morning, blending bliss with heat and altering my definition of the day.

Max reads

Resized_20170901_102752

Max has found the shelves of limitless possibilities. Available blocks for pulling and pushing and stacking and holding and tasting, there is no end to the heavy and papery movement of sliding books. Max’s baby hands flicker and clutch, trying to open the books, trying to close the books, breathing, forgetting to breathe. His big toes are pointed in concentration. And the books, the pages, the authors look on unafraid, such passionate exploration is what they were made for.

 

When Max came to dinner

18718527_1671374076236532_120101220_n

Tonight Max came to the dinner table.

It is the first time and he is a little bird perched and watching everything. We are eating noodles and vegetables, prepared by the youngest aunt who is glum and disappointed. Max watches everything. It is loud and hot inside, the fire is roaring and there are sticks and gum leaves scattered across the floor.

The table is chaotic. Max looks carefully across and though glass and plate, noodles and vegetables, baby bottles, pencils, bowls, envelopes, the shining cutlery, a water jug, school papers and disagreements.

He watches his mother eat, he watches, in love, her mouth, he reaches and reaches for the fork, but he mustn’t have it. He reaches for noodles, his mouth moves, he imitates his mother, he allows saliva to fall. He is entangled in eating and voices and gestures.

The youngest aunts have begun an argument; they accuse each other of being freaks and of life wrecking. Max watches calmly, he is impressed by voices and the rainbows of dispute.

Max’s grandfather eats at an alarming rate; he is going back out to the shed to bring back a beer, a home brew that is disgusting.

I am watching Max absorb the evening, I wonder what he wonders. A glass of water is overturned, a fork drops, conversation falls and lifts and falls.

He is lifted onto his mother’s shoulder and is moving away to bed, he is still looking at all of us and he is smiling,  he has one triumphant fist raised in the air.

 

 

How Noah and Max Rule This Kingdom

18555065_1660264357347504_824710947_n

Noah and Max are the small Kings here. We bow down to their every need; we discuss their progress, imagine their development and predict their future. All they want is milk.

We buy them shoes that fit, but fifteen minutes later they no longer fit. We talk about equipment and nutrition and swimming classes. Noah and Max exchange glances of agreed contempt. Where is the milk?

They are busy with work; their bodies are roaring with growth, their brains are ticking,  drinking in faces along with the milk. Their ears must be full of noise and colour and heartbeats, we always place Noah across our heart. Max likes to hold his head against another head, he pushes his small ear against a chin, feeling the words softly drumming on and on…

Max examines his own foot, confounded. Noah’s dark eyes flicker as his ears draw in one sound after another.

We talk about sleep, and about parenting and about bananas.

Max now might go to the toilet and Noah –  he is slipping back into sleep. There is just time for them to glance again at each other, amused.