When Kaison was three years old he and I spent a good bit of time together, particularly on Tuesdays. His older sister had started Pre-K. Until we picked her up in the afternoons, it was just Kaison and I learning about roly polys, turtles, squirrels, how to pedal a tricycle uphill (a very gradual south Georgia hill, but a hill nonetheless), and the big lesson of learning to stay out of the street.
One day as we rounded a curve walking in our circular driveway, I said, “Oh, Kaison, look!” I pointed at a strange white formation in the asphalt and then squatted down with him to get a closer look. (I could still bend at that time!) “A dinosaur’s footprint,” I breathed.
Kaison was really “into” dinosaurs then. I think it was the year his parents gave him a big toy dinosaur that roared and swung its neck in a truly forbidding way. Kaison would sneak up on me and scare the willies out of me with that dinosaur. Also, we played a matching game with colorful dinosaur cards, a game that was more fun when his sister Charli was there to make us a threesome. They always beat me hands down. I got lost remembering where on the table brontosaurus, tyrannosaurus rex, stegasaurus and all the rest were.
We examined that design in the asphalt and we wondered together. “It was a baby dinosaur,” observed Kaison.
What kind of dinosaur made this footprint–a tyrannosaurus rex maybe? We speculated about where the baby’s mother was and why there were no other tracks. Thereafter, every time we came upon that white “track” imprinted in the driveway, we would speculate more about the baby dinosaur. Was he lost when he made that print? Where was his home? Did his father come looking for him? What did he eat? Where did he sleep?
A trip to the library answered some of our general questions. Invariably, like his uncle Charles, Kaison chose books about dinosaurs.
Time passed. Kaison started school and just loved it from the very beginning. He learned to read–all about butterflies and elephants–and dinosaurs. Now he could ride a bike around our circle and the new game was for me to time him and see how many seconds it took to go around.
We never talked about the dinosaur footprint anymore. Until one day when he and I were walking around the circle. Suddenly he bent over to inspect the “track.” “Here’s the dinosaur footprint,” he said with glee, almost as if it were his first time to see it.
“Oh, Kaison,” I said, “you do realize Nana was just telling you a story for fun. That couldn’t be a real dinosaur’s print. This driveway wouldn’t have been here then.”
He nodded. He looked as if he understood. But a few weeks later he took me by the hand and said, “Let’s go look at the dinosaur footprint.”
Again I explained that I had been using my imagination when I told him that was a dinosaur footprint. Would he ever believe anything else I told him?
Shortly after that conversation Kaison and I were sitting in the swing talking about Jesus. He looked at me with his big blue eyes shining and said, “And all that about Jesus is really true. Right, Nana?”
I was so glad to say yes!