My grandson, Phillip, 16, and I just returned from a vacation in California.   


He was the last of the grandchildren to go on “a Nana trip,” and we planned the trip with the redwoods in mind. I was happy he hadn’t aged out of spending time with his grandmother.  


Around Christmas last year, I wondered to Phillip and his brother Alexander if I would ever become a boring grandmother, if at some point their friends and girls would be more interesting so they wouldn’t want to visit.  “No way,” they said. “We will bring our friends and girls, and oh Nana, you will never be boring.”  

So okay, not boring.  Sometimes hard of hearing and not getting the joke, but not boring. And they are happy to repeat themselves and explain the jokes.

On the trip to California, Phillip and I saw the redwoods, lots of them. Phillip had his daddy’s drone with him, which he had stayed up late to fix before our early morning flight.  He filmed from the bottom to the top of the thousand-year-old trees.  Spellbinding.  

From there we found our way to the ocean bluffs called the Headlands, with water crashing on rocks below, and Goat Rock Beach. Phillip flew the drone and took photographs and videos.

We read in a guidebook a list of 100 things to do, and and that’s when ocean kayaking showed up as a possible adventure, complete with “cave exploring.”  

I am a good swimmer.  I have never been in a kayak but they looked stable enough.  My thing was getting down and in a kayak with two very bad knees that hurt when I flex into even a moderate squat.

Phillip and I discussed alternatives. What if Phillip went kayaking and I didn’t?

I asked if he thought I was a sissy.  “No,” he said.  “I don’t think that, but I do think you can do this.”

He looked at me, and he looked at the kayak. “If it does hurt,  it will only be twice, when you are going down to get in and when you are coming up to get out. Besides Stuart (our guide) and I will be there to give you a hand.”

Okay.  No problem.  Same thing later with the roller coaster.

Lesson learned:  Be available. Be coachable. Listen. Pay attention.  Quiet your objections. Breathe.  Smile.


Say thank you.