The Time/Language Continuum

I love conversing with my grandson, not just because three-year-olds are so uncensored and amusing, but because he was late in talking. Now every sentence is a window into his linguistic mind, and I treasure each word.

His current issue is adverbs of time. For Mothers' Day, the ladies of the family went out for 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. "Is it still Mothers' Day?" he asked.

I find this notion that a special day lasts only as long as the celebration to be shrewd. After all, isn’t a birthday finished when the party’s over? How active his mind have been during his prolonged silence.

Just as I was about to answer, his mother came in behind me and asked what he'd said. Rather than repeat himself, he looked up as if to search his mental index of language rules, then cautiously rephrased the question. "Is it Mother's Day yet?"

The older I get, the more I get this line of thinking. Each morning when I hobble on stiff feet to the mirror and see an unlined face, I wonder if I'm still middle-aged or middle-aged yet. After nineteen years of teaching, am I still a good teacher or am I a good teacher yet? Was I ever one to begin with or will I ever be?