Slice of Life - A Brief Conversation With Cooper

This morning I rang my grandson Cooper, to check in on how he was going. Cooper is aged four and lives in Sydney some 900kms away. He is at an age where absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the vision fade, so it is important to maintain the profile with regular chit chats as he sometimes likes to call them. When I called he was somewhere outside doing nothing in particular, but he came to the phone when his Dad called for him and the conversation went something like this:

Hi Cooper’
‘Hello Papa’
‘Well, what have you been doing this week?’
‘I‘ve been roller-skating.’
‘Really? I didn’t know you had roller skates.’
‘Yes, I got them for my birthday.’
‘How’s your balance?’
‘Now tell me, what have you got planned for today?’
‘I’m going to have a milkshake.’
‘That sounds like something to look forward to…’

-And with that he was gone. The thought of the milkshake had obviously triggered a need to hurry things up a bit and I was extraneous to that primary need. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was clearly operating here.
My son, Stephen came on the phone and laughed.
‘You struck out that time Dad. The thought of a milkshake is clearly more important in the pecking order right at this moment, it seems.
“Short and sweet today. Maybe I’ll have better luck next week?.’

That’s the way it goes sometimes. Children have a way of reminding you where you stand in the scheme of things. When he was three Cooper asked to speak to me one evening and his call duly came through and I was pleasantly surprised by his call. We chatted for quite some time on that particular occasion about a whole range of matters. Later I told my son how happy I was to have had such a great conversation with Cooper and what a pleasant surprise it was to get his call. I was so obviously pumped.
‘That’s great Dad, but I have to tell you were third behind the Easter bunny and Spiderman,’ Stephen informed me
‘Ah well, I’m at least in good company,’ I responded.


  1. During my private lesson with a couple on Friday, I heard their 9-year-old daughter chatting and giggling in the other room. I asked who she was playing with, and they said "her grandfather". Kids are so lucky when they have one, or two. Keep calling. We adults have the wisdom to know that there is no milkshake that will be remembered like the presence of a caring grandfather in your early life.

  2. I agree with Molly, Alan, it's like teaching, you never really know what impact you have in the moment. You need to be patient that you are making a difference in the future.

  3. Alan, do you ever skype or use another type of video communication to talk with Cooper? Sometimes a voice and an image can bump you up on the list.

  4. Grandkids are great. I joke that when I married Dan, I got the benefits of a granddaughter without the work of first raising her parent.

  5. Your conversation with Cooper reminds me of conversations with my niece. She doesn't have time for chit chat. She used to just hand off the phone to whomever was nearest at the moment, then she switched to what my mother and I laughingly call her charming goodbye: "You're very beautiful, and I love you." It's a wonderfully tactful dismissal! My relationship with my niece is strong, as I'm sure yours is with Cooper. I'm hers, and she knows it. Kids like knowing they have "their people," even if they can't spare us more than a moment on the phone, and even when milkshakes call them away!

  6. This is sweet. He is a lucky kid to have a Papa who WANTS to be a regular part of his life.

  7. What a lovely post and how wonderful that Cooper has a grandfather who can let it be about who he is at age four and now what you need him to be.

  8. Love the way you captured this little Slice. Love even more the way you make an effort to be an important part of Cooper's life.


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