Last week, we took our little boy on his first airplane ride to see Grandma and Grandpa. My parents are in their early 70s and in good health, but you don’t need a calculator to see that time is a precious and limited commodity for Sean in this regard. My hope was that in spending some lazy summer days with Grandma and Grandpa this past week, that he might plant some sweet and cherished memories that would last him a lifetime. What I didn’t anticipate was that it might take a lifetime to undo a week of “grand-parenting”.
Grandma went all out to see that Sean would remember his visit fondly. There was nothing that the wave of his little hand could not bring forth. Five little fingers flung in the general direction of the pantry could summon an array of cookies, cereals and snacks no matter the hour. It was like being on a cruise ship – there was always a buffet somewhere.
Grandma: “Can Sean have a cookie?”
Antique Mommy: “No. It’s only 8am and he hasn’t eaten breakfast.”
Grandma: “Ok…(pause) Sean would you like an iced animal cracker?”
Sean: Nods head vigorously and takes three in addition to the two he has already shoved in his mouth.
Antique Mommy: “Mom, I said no cookies.”
Grandma: “It’s not a cookie dear, it’s a cracker. Animal cracker. You said no cookies.”
One of the nice things about visiting my parents, was that Antique Daddy and I could go off and do some things, just the two of us, just like in the olden days, when we were dating, except without all the kissing and making out. Only this time we didn’t talk about current events and ideas or kiss and make out. We talked about what Grandma was probably letting Sean do and how long it would take to restore him to his proper position in the universe – not king and co-creator of said universe as Grandma has lead him to believe.
At Grandma’s house, it’s always time for ice cream, cartoons are always on, coffee tables are for standing on and beds are for jumping on – because who sleeps? I mean, ever? Every flower can and must be picked, every cabinet must be opened, inspected and emptied, and every lamp must be touched and deemed breakable or unbreakable. (Answer: breakable). No problem. Anything that gets broken at Grandma’s was something she was planning to get rid of anyway. It’s fun to go to Grandmas!
Grandpa was no better. Normally we don’t let our 21-month-old play in the street, unless it’s been a really hard day, but after a nice summer rain, Grandpa thought Sean might enjoy a lesson in “puddle-jumpin”. And he did. And being the over-achiever that my son is, he even perfected the “lay-down-and-roll-in-it with-your–new-outfit-on” technique. Good times.
So now we are back in Texas in our lampless, flowerless, empty-cabinet home, looking at our vacation photos. And in our sleepless sugar-induced ADHD haze, we are enjoying a familiar false sense of well-being and fondly reliving our week at Grandmas…. Ice cream anyone?