I wonder what his favorite color is

Our grandson Finnegan, or Fin or Finny, is on the cover this month. He’s also Kate and Kos’ grandson, too, and Phyllis and Jim’s and Jean’s great grandson, and Kiska, Carlos, Akadia and Aly’s nephew. And of course, he’s Alli and Andy’s son. Turns out he’s already a lot of things to a lot of people. And those relationships and more will grow and grow. How can you not engage when he beams at you? says the smitten grandparent.

It’s hard not to drift every now and then into the territory of what kind of world li’l Fin will grow up in and what his role in that world will be. I don’t dwell on it and I’m not one to go down a doom-and-gloom scenario on most things. I think we sometimes get stuck viewing the world through our “experienced” eyes and not through what Zen Buddhists might refer to as beginner’s mind, where all things are possible.

I recently picked up an old favorite, The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery. We have the pop-up version, which makes reading fun. Here’s a little section that struck me with Fin in mind:

“Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: ‘What does his voice sound like?’ ‘What games does he like best?’ ‘Does he collect butterflies?’ They ask: ‘How old is he?’ ‘How many brothers does he have?’ ‘How much does he weigh?’ ‘How much money does his father make?’ Only then do they think they know him…

“So if you tell them: ‘The proof of the little prince’s existence is that he was delightful, that he laughed, and that he wanted a sheep. When someone wants a sheep, that proves he exists,” they shrug their shoulders and treat you like a child.”

When I think of Fin growing up and what he will be, I try to keep The Little Prince in mind and not focus on the things that we grown-ups tend to. Not whether he’ll be a nurse or firefighter or an accountant, or what car he’ll drive or how big his house will be.

I wonder more about the friendships he’ll form and the relationships he’ll maintain with his siblings (if?) and aunts and uncles and cousins and parents and on and on. And I think about how he’ll make friends and how he’ll navigate his way and how he’ll approach the world. I ponder whether he’ll be kind and generous and true and adventurous and courageous and loyal and of course, maybe most importantly, approach the world with a generous sense of humor.

I do know that he’ll be nurtured in a circle of love, though. And that will make all the difference.

Of course, when I’m hanging out with him, I don’t think of anything like that big-picture stuff at all. We just play.

And a final note: This is our 25th year of publishing and we have been featuring cover kids whose parents were cover kids. As you might have guessed, Andy and his sister Aly were on more than one cover over the years when they were young, starting with our first issue. What you might not know is that Fin’s aunt Akadia was also on a cover with a bunny when she was wee.