I love conversing with my grandson, not just because three-year-olds are so uncensored and amusing, but because he was so late in talking. Now every sentence is a window into his linguistic mind, and I, as a language teacher, treasure each word puzzle.
His current conundrum is adverbs of time. For Mothers' Day, the ladies of the family went out for a couple hours to get coffee and manicures. It must have seemed ages to him at home with the men, for when we returned, he came charging to greet us with a grin that said he'd been patient but sure hoped we were back to stay. His actual words (which only I heard, being first in the door) were, "Is it still Mothers' Day?"
I was charmed by this notion that a special day lasts only as long as the official celebration, and I believe the question proves how active his mind was during his prolonged silence. After all, isn't a birthday done when the party's over?
Just as I was about to answer, his mother came in behind me and asked what he'd said. Rather than just repeating himself, he stopped and looked up as if to search his mental index of language rules. Then he cautiously rephrased the question. "Is it Mother's Day yet?"
The older I get, the more I understand this line of thinking. Each morning when I hobble on stiff feet to the mirror but see a youthful reflection, I wonder if I'm middle-aged yet or still middle-aged. After nineteen years of teaching, am I still a good teacher or am I a good teacher yet? Was I ever one or will I ever be?