O my God, thank You for my beautiful grandsons with their sweet, innocent faces. If they told me, as they did their mother, that they did not keep raw bacon in their pajama drawer, I would believe them. OMG, wouldn’t You?
I did not feel so positive when I endured 24/7 baby duty because of Steve’s busy medical practice. Our mean babies eventually morphed into nice human beings, but began their lives eager to destroy mine. The little insomniacs suffered from 13 kinds of colic.
People who told me to “enjoy these years — they pass so quickly” were removed from my Christmas card list.
Church nursery duty became a purgatory where diaper duty multiplied a dozen times over.
My ex-Christmas-card correspondents, however, proved correct. My nestlings flew away to give birth to mean babies of their own. At least, so say their parents.
I, however, have grown in wisdom, now recognizing perfection. I just don’t get to hold it enough.
“Waaaaaaaah!” Several small charges do not feel so positive.
Steve and I introduce them to the sacred ritual of fellowship (translation: “eating”). Cheerios aren’t nearly as yummy as the official adult version of fellowship (doughnuts), but sufficient to dry tears. One upset toddler speaks a language I studied long ago, but don’t remember. Eventually Steve solves the mystery: we served her Cheerios in a paper cup; other nursery workers had placed them on a paper towel. When he brings her one, a brilliant smile rewards him.
A family doctor for decades, Steve is good with babies. At 6’3”, he appears a bearded giant, so he sits on the floor to play trucks or tea party. One tiny girl plops onto his lap. She recognizes a grandpa when she sees one.
His eyes light up, and he’s in love. I don’t mind, though she is young and beautiful.
We hug, kiss and play. We read, rock, referee … and rescue. Why do engineers spend thousands of hours designing machines of perpetual motion when a church nursery outshines them all? Darling munchkins crawl, whirl, fight, giggle, pile, knock down, throw, grab and climb.
A mother appears, and one cutie erupts with joy, setting off a stampede. Fortunately, more parents soon show up. A large, unclaimed toddler saves his worst for last: a diaper that could empty the church. My nursery-warrior husband braves disaster and presents him clean and sweet-smelling to his folks.
Suddenly, the nursery is still. Our wild, wonderful little friends have gone home to long afternoon naps.
But none as long as ours.
O my God, if I’d drawn on a Thanksgiving tablecloth as a kid—“No pumpkin pie for you!” But this tablecloth invited rowdy games of tic-tac-toe and connect-the-dots, and kids, young and old, colored it with gusto. OMG, thanks for that wild, wonderful three-day feast! And for the put-my-feet-up quiet now.
O my God, 63 years ago, neither this guy nor I had any idea how our lives would intersect. Or that we would celebrate his birthday weekend with our son and his son. OMG, You are so good! (What fun!—even if the Cubs played their worst game of the season.)
But that will change the day their oldest turns 16.
How can I forget that era? Our teens learned to drive. My husband and I learned to pray.
Our kids were responsible. So why did the sight of a driver’s education car squeeze my stomach even more than the course fees?
Some blame rests on Mr. Doom, my long-ago driver education teacher. His first words: “I don’t like women drivers.”
Among four 16-year-olds, we could not scrape up a single Y chromosome. If we girls took driver’s ed today, we could sue him for sexual harassment and his hideous neckties.
Instead, we gulped meekly and tried our best to kill him.
My friend Linda eclipsed us all by wrecking the department’s new 1970 Cutlass (odometer reading: 11 miles).
I attempted to console her: “You did what he said.”
How could Linda know that when Mr. Doom ordered, “Pull over,” he meant after we passed the telephone pole?
His inspirational thought for the day: “You’re all going to die within 10 years.”
But I survived. I even lived to list my minivan as my legal address during our children’s school years.
But me, their unofficial driving instructor? It was like Homer Simpson giving sensitivity lessons.
I found our second driving course at the cemetery, where most of the people were already dead.
Such parental dedication contributed to eventual success: all our children obtained drivers’ licenses. No longer did I drag out of bed to retrieve a teen worker at midnight. Nor did I risk mugging as I dozed in a dark parking lot, awaiting the end of a youth lock-in.
Instead, we parents languished at home, monitoring car rates on the Insurance Channel.
We were proud of our children’s safe driving records, though, crediting superior instruction, constant practice and boring cars. When our grandchildren turn 16, Steve and I will highly recommend the latter as an efficient means of ruining their fun.
Their parents will recall our shopping for their first cars. Chunky and colorless, the perfect choice sat, an empty space on either side (the other cars didn’t want to hang around it). The car had visited only the grocery, library and church with its aged owner. It had forgotten how to drive above 55.
If they did, they’re still not telling.
How about your first car? Anything you’re not telling your folks, either?
June — and flip-flops — have invaded America for the season, appearing in offices, fancy restaurants and even at weddings. But the change in footwear reflects only a tiny fraction of our monumental summer lifestyle shift.
School is out, graduates have flipped tassels, and parents/teachers/students have flip-flopped their schedules. School buses hibernate, and millions of children remain at home to spend quality time with beloved siblings.
College kids also have abandoned books, eight-o’clock classes and the joys of dormitory living to converge on home. All to spend quality time with their parents’ Internet, refrigerators and car keys.
Flip-flopped Fun Time
We empty nesters change our stodgy ways, as relatives and friends — freed from winter’s icy grasp — target travel in all fifty states, particularly those where mooching a free month’s lodging is legal. Especially if we nesters live near the ocean, the mountains or Disney World.
In view of the above, Congress should enact a law that establishes a ceiling on laundry levels, especially beach towels and sheet changes. No wife, mother or hostess should awaken on a sunny morning to find herself a victim of a hostile laundry takeover.
Also, before Congress adjourns for a well-deserved (?) vacation, why not demand laws requiring automatic shut-offs on kitchen ranges from June through August? After all, salad actually tastes yummy during summer. Although in a dietary flip-flop, ice cream does, too.
I vote for ice cream.
And for s’mores. I dislike marshmallows, yet when summer arrives, I admit an urge to bury myself in bear-infested woods, building campfires whereby I roast them (marshmallows, not the bears) and me. I sacrifice delicious chocolate bars and perfectly good graham crackers by slathering them with marshmallows, even feeding s’mores to my grandchildren.
Dastardly grandma crimes of this magnitude committed in February might evoke stern frowns from nutritionally correct parents. But what can they say, when possessed by similar summer madness, they probably buy them deep-fried Oreos at county fairs?
Occasionally, the carefree, “whatever” lifestyle of summer does us in. Maybe we’ve listened to “Good Vibrations” too many times with the car windows down. Sniffed one too many citronella candles. Carried too many pounds of sand in the seats of our bathing suits.
Perhaps months of wearing flip-flops not only have affected our arches, but also our brains.
But isn’t summer worth it?
How will June, July and August flip-flop your life this year?
Oh, my God, yesterday our Energizer Bunny grandkids needed to rest. Not as much as Grandpa and I! We parked them before an old “Veggie Tales” video. This morning, my brain has replayed “Oh, Where Is My Hairbrush?” 157 times — so far. OMG, maybe you’re teaching these grandparents a lesson?