Google entered the picture of many lives in 1998; Gibson entered the world 20 years later in 2018.

I have used Google as our search engine many times over the years; I have spent a lot of time with my grandson, Gibson, for two years. While watching him, I incorporate several learning/play stations inside and outside his parents' home, one being the great programming through technology connected to their television. It is just a matter of saying, “Hey Google” with one of the titles of our favorite shows like “Barney,” and Barney and his friends magically appear. Once finished, I say, “Hey Google, stop casting!”

When waking up from a nap not long ago, Gibson started calling for us to come and get him through the video monitoring system. He said, “Mama ..., Dada ..., Nana ..., and Papaw ...” We were evidently too slow in responding, and he was getting a little impatient. Then, he said, “Google!”

Gibson now has a brother, Rowan, who is four months. Before Rowan was born, we would ask the Google device to turn on “Mr. Rogers.” Once an episode ended, I would pretend to be Mr. Rogers, and Gibson would be my neighborhood helper. We would get the baby doll out which Gibson's parents had purchased to help prepare him for his baby brother. Then, we would find other items that babies need like diapers, a bottle, a pacifier, some toys, and a cover. I would talk to our audience, including some of Gibson's favorite characters like Woody and Buzz from “Toy Story,” about caring for a baby while Gibson would demonstrate exactly what to do.

Recently, Gibson was helping Rowan play with a toy that plays music. (What toy for children does not play music today? It certainly supports the importance of music in schools!) Well, Gibson thought it was time for the next selection and said, “Stop casting!” Google could not be of help with the toy, but I could by tapping on another button.

Undoubtedly, technology has changed a lot in my lifetime. It is amazing to me how we can speak into the air and hear all kinds of information whether we are asking a Google, Alexa, or Siri smart assistant.

Then, I started thinking about all the amazing things Gibson has added to my life while watching him during his first two years with a few highlights listed:

  • I will never forget crawling on the floor with him and the grin on his face. Of course, it took me a long time to get up, but Gibson didn't notice.
  • The rocker is where we would read books and eventually fall asleep together after some classic songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and then some original and unusual songs like “Grandpa and Gibson Just Rocking Away.” Books and music remain important to him.
  • There was the day I turned in my resignation in to his parents, the day he sneaked by me and fell down the steps. Fortunately, there was a small landing after a few steps, and he was fine after a few tears. I hurt a lot more than Gibson did!
  • After introducing him to trees for his first time, they have been our friends. Our special place is under the far reaching branches and leaves of the willow tree in the yard and enjoying a picnic while including Woody and Buzz and their friends.
  • Before entering his home, I have a special knock. Gibson recognizes it, shouts “Grandpa!” and runs to greet me with a great big smile and a leg hug.
  • For Veteran's Day, his family met us at the gravesite of my dad. I still see Gibson slowly and respectfully walking to his great-grandfather's gravestone and placing a flag next to it with Gibson's great-grandmother (GG) in tears. While the family was saying the “Lord's Prayer,” he surprised all of us by taking his hat off.
  • When all of us are eating together, Gibson will look at me and softly whisper “Outside?” If I don't respond, then he whispers “Playroom?” If I still don't respond, then he will look at my wife and whisper “Playroom?” knowing Nana prefers to play inside. There are times I like to catch him off guard and whisper “Outside?” before he can get it out. His look of approval is priceless!
  • Gibson enjoys stroller rides and loves it when I grant his wish of driving through water puddles. During the trip, he will spot wildflowers and request, demand, to stop so that he can pick and present them proudly to the family.
  • Gibson has always enjoyed sitting in and exploring my 1989 Cadillac Fleetwood and my 1990 Buick Reatta. He has had the opportunity to drive both in the driveway while on my lap. The other day, he looked up at me and said, “Gibson wants to drive myself!” I possibly should preserve the Cad, as Gibson refers to it, since Google as well as other companies are working on a driverless car.
  • Being a former fifth grade science teacher, I like to get into that subject area some. In using my fingers and then drawing a diagram with sidewalk chalk, I try to explain how the earth goes around the sun and how the moon goes around the earth. Gibson takes it all in and is now trying to explain the concept to others. He just might follow the career path of both his parents and become a teacher.
  • When walking on one of our journeys, Gibson will now and then ask, “Grandpa, do you want to hold my hand?” As I take his small hand, I think back to when my two daughters would ask the same question. There are not many feelings better than holding the hand of a child!

I am happy to report that Grandpa is still the preference over Google. And, a young child can sure help us get away from all the concerns of this world. Gibson puts his hands together before eating and says, “Thank you God. Amen!”

I am thinking, “Thank you God for children. Amen!”