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Sometimes it's good to look backward and remember times gone by. Other times it's good to just keep moving forward. Today, one small glimpse of a good experience with my grandson. Now he's 16. When he was 10 I took him on a road trip to the ocean beach in Washington state. 

We stayed in a cabin. We walked on the beach where he flew his kite. I took pictures. We talked as we walked and picked up shells.We laughed as the ocean waves chased us inland. In the evening I asked what he wanted to do since it was now too dark to be outside. He didn't surprise me. He said, “I just want to draw.'' 

We had brought our paper and colored pencils. So we started to draw. There was a fire in the wood stove. As the evening went by I realized the only sound in the room was the crackling fire and the sound of our pencils sketching on the paper. It was a holy sound to me. 

He was happy all day, and now in those quiet hours before bedtime he was happy to draw with me. What a gift we gave one another. Time spent in each other's presence, being present for one another, this is the good stuff of life. This is family at its best. 

For Christmas that year I gave him a photo album of the pictures from our trip. I also gave him a picture frame. The picture was surrounded on the edges of the frame with the small pencils that were left from our drawing time together. Useless to draw with anymore, they tell a story about our trip to the beach. 

All of us are useful to one another as we remember what we did in the past. I love to see my grandson growing into his future. He continues to be a young man who loves the ocean. And I love him.

Roberta Needles

Roberta’s passion for music allows her to hear sounds all around her —in her children, nature, and the world.

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