O my God, thank You for my grandchildren, a sevenfold blessing I could never have imagined. Once, though, I told them I remember when the U.S. flag included only 48 stars — and OMG, one grandson asked if I knew Betsy Ross.
Though I never would have told him, my eight-year-old grandson resembled a cherub, with blond, adorably mussed hair and big blue eyes.
Instead of wings and a halo, however, a choir T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes betrayed terrestrial origins. Fifty other similarly-clad choir “angels” appeared equally earthbound.
A couple possessed wild hair that defied mom-smeared pomades. Some faces betrayed streaks of hastily gulped suppers.
All had practiced at 7:15 a.m. for weeks. They weren’t even paid overtime.
Weary, yet eager parents awaited the first song. Sleeping babies hung around necks like 15-pound ornaments. Surrounded by tantrum-throwing toddlers and texting teens, these mothers and fathers still showed up to support their kids.
With the first tuneful voices, quiet spread like a sweet epidemic.
Grandparents sucked in the children’s fresh melodies, a Fountain of Youth elixir. We wouldn’t trade these seats for any in Carnegie Hall.
People behind me might have preferred that, too.
So whispered my daughter as she yanked me down.
“But those grandmas do it.” I pointed toward other seniors, poking up through the crowd like prairie dogs.
She hissed, “If you don’t sit, no ice cream.”
Gasp! I obeyed.
An older choir, wearing favorite team hats, sang a spirited rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
They even sang harmony. If only someone would send these kids to Chicago to do the seventh-inning stretch.
When the third-grade choir strutted their vocal stuff, they sang a memorized song in German. On key, even — unlike many restaurant servers who attempt “Happy Birthday.”
But my grandson’s choir gave me fresh hope that good singing won’t become a lost art.
So did his director, who with gentle, iron words and sweeping gestures, inspired beauty in a hundred kids. Plus, she kept them from killing each other.
Thank God for my little choir boy, who patiently endured a photo op afterward. His great-grandparents sang as they worked, played and prayed. Ditto for grandmas and grandpas, who grew up harmonizing with their families in the car and singing in school and church choirs. So did his golden-voiced daddy and mama.
Maybe, as I did in the past, this little guy will strike deals with fellow servers, earning extra tips when he solos on “Happy Birthday” to diners.
Surely, more applause will await him in his musical future as he shares the song in his heart —helping other hearts sing, too.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What were your favorite grade-school songs?
O my God, thank You for people who help us laugh. For Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, who grew up on a farm in our county. And, OMG, thanks especially for special people who laugh with me!
O my God, didn’t we used to diaper, swing, and kiss these little nerdlings’ boo-boos? Now, one grandchild is a texting teen, one’s voice alternately booms and squeaks, and the youngest beat Grandpa at Scrabble! Thank You for this new grandparent adventure. But OMG, we’ll have to grow up to handle it!
O my God, when I’m with grandsons, I lose decades. Such fun! But after a museum-sprinting, pizza-eating, pillow-fighting weekend, I feel 157 — and look it. Still, OMG, thank You for every tackle-hug — and the sweet time warp of being a grandma!
During my childhood, Christmas cookies had such a short life expectancy that baking them hardly seemed worth it. The December appearance of a mixing bowl at our house ignited a war to determine who would “help.” When Mom or I dared take a restroom break, the kitchen was plundered by cookie-starved barbarians.
The first holiday stay at my future in-laws’ home completely muddled my Christmas cookie worldview. Perfect reindeer, Christmas trees and Santas were baked, with no fear of masked marauders. After decorating them like a culinary Michelangelo, my future mother-in-law openly displayed her creations on kitchen counters.
It was like visiting an unguarded art museum.
A kind woman, she chose not to prosecute me. When I married her son, she gave me her recipe!
Forgetting my brothers now lived hundreds of miles away, I baked a typical triple batch. My new husband and I ate little stables and mangers until Valentine’s Day — and loved it.
When our eldest, aged two, took her debut Christmas-cookie-baking lesson, the initial batch of dough hit the floor. Experimenting with the mixer’s beaters, she distributed another batch on the ceiling. Finally, I shoved a bowlful into the refrigerator to chill. She parked in front of it.
Toddler: Cookies ready yet?
Mommy: No, honey. They have to get cold.
Toddler: (Yanking on fridge door) Don’t want cold cookies!
Mommy: We’ll bake them, but first, they have to get cold.
Toddler: (Suspiciously) Okay.
Mommy: I’ll set the oven timer—
Toddler: For the ’frigerator??
Mommy: (Looking heavenward) When it dings, the cookies will be cold.
Toddler: Okay. (Sits in front of oven.) Timer ready yet?
Later, she mixed frostings so that her mossy green and dark blood-red Christmas cookies could have graced a vampire’s holiday table.
New sons-in-law, however, scorned cookie cutters as insults to their rugged individuality. They custom-designed mutant mittens, alien reindeer and Christmas carburetors. With the appearance of additional little helpers over the years, we once again turned out dozens of Christmas vampire cookies.
Worst of all, Grandma sneaked store-bought dough into the equation.
Now, a few years later, the grandchildren make their own — circumventing Grandma’s appalling shortcuts — and bring them to family gatherings.
With them taking charge, our family’s Christmas cookie history should flourish for generations to come.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What favorite cookie will you bake (and sneak) this Christmas?
O my God, thank You for Thanksgiving! Feasting, fussing, playing and praying, our four generations celebrated Thanksgiving with everything in us. Today, however, I will make lunch for two instead of 18. I walk without laming myself on Legos. Quiet reigns again in our empty nest …
OMG, how I miss that marvelous mess!