Those of you who called in last week will know that my grandson came to stay. Yes, we had a wonderful time; and yes, I was exhausted when he left - but it was worth every minute.
And not just because it was fun (though it was). It was also a reminder why children are so very precious.
I remember, as an adolescent, being mystified when adults insisted that charities raising money for children were so important. I argued that they are simply a component of the continuum of being human and therefore no more or less significant than anyone else. Up to a point I still think that - we should celebrate the needs of everyone, whatever their age or contribution. I don't quite buy the argument that children should take priority because they will grow up to work, to build an economy that will pay for our pensions.
Yet they are, indeed, precious. Why?
As we walked into town, my grandson ran ahead to press the button at the traffic lights. A simple, everyday task suddenly a matter of importance. As we crossed The Green he spotted a ladybird, squatted to watch as it climbed onto a leaf and finally crawl off into the grass. He learned the difference between a dock leaf and a stinging nettle (the hard way). We sat on the top deck of the bus and counted flags. He perched on a beanbag in the bookshop and spent twenty minutes in the serious business of choosing. His response to his small cousin falling in the mud was not to reach for the wipes and spare clothes, but to laugh (as did she.) The small cousin, I must add, is my granddaughter - a determined, feisty little girl who is making the most of being two. With such a clear mind of her own now, she'll be ready to take on the world when she's twenty. Which will not surprised those of you who have come across Anna - her mother.
When did you last gaze at a ladybird - without a child in tow? Or press the button at the crossing and wonder if it will be the red car or the blue that will stop? That glorious living-in-the-moment that allows you to notice everything as if for the first time. The excitement that comes with the realisation that every day is full of possibilities.
I have spent a week with countless wonderful reminders of just how astonishing the world can be.
He will, of course, grow up. Like the rest of us, he will come to take much of the world for granted. Until, of course, he has children of his own.