This year, my end of summer reflection is, by necessity, an Ode to Grandparents.
An Ode to all the Grands in our life, who happily parent our kids, while my husband and I get to do the things we so rarely get to do; read a “magazine,” go for a “walk,” or even sometimes “have a conversation.”
I owe them a boatload of kudos for making my end of summer vacation not only fun, but possible in the first place. Good grandparents are hard to come by.
Yes, they feed your children ice cream and/or lollipops for breakfast (and probably lunch as well), but you should really worry more about the turkey jerky they bought at the flea market and called dinner. Yes, the children can and do go three days without brushing their teeth or hair; by Sunday night when they emerge from a darkened room after a Sour Patch Kids/Spongebob binge, wild eyed and dreadlocked, you’ll wonder how they’re still upright. And yes… grandparents will stress the fabric of a child’s clothing in ways that will confound you; I bet you never knew the waistband of those pants could stretch all the way to your child’s nipples. They can. They do. And they look…Hey! They look just the way you look in all your childhood photos!
But then you’ll think back to all the other amazing things that you bore witness to while you were on vacation with the Grands, and you’ll think “how did we ever get so lucky?”
A grandmother who literally never forgot that time two years ago our child mentioned that one thing they were interested in, and then scoured the Earth for precious/rare objects to help that child explore the deepest corners of their imagination.
A partially deaf grandfather patiently teaching our children how to fish for perch off a dock, everyone seamlessly working in tandem toward a common goal. He does the worm-work of ten men while the children look on in awe, and the one thing he can hear clearly is how they scream with delight when someone finally catches something.
A grandmother who shows up armed to the hilt with craft projects, baking projects, kid friendly meal plans, and the energy and focus to diffuse any argument, conquer any bad mood, and vanquish hunger, all with a happy heart. That’s a certified Grand-ninja right there.
A grandfather with the foresight to bring a rocket (a rocket!!), and yes it was a science project, but I repeat–he brought a rocket. To the house we were staying in. And then he set it off. Witness the awesome power of grandparents.
A grandmother who would wrap herself in plastic and run around the backyard while the children shot at her with water cannons. Literally a woman in her sixties wrapped herself in a human body condom while the children Super Soaked her to the bone, and never stopped laughing once.
All you have to do is provide a comfortable bed for them to collapse into at the end of the day, and three squares. They’re the first to go to bed at night, but they’re also the first to wake up, catch that first kid good-mood of the day and make a meal of it.
My husband and I are blessed to suffer an embarrassment of riches in the Grandparent department, and so to them, on this last weekend of summer, I raise a glass of Prosecco and toast them.
(They’re not here right now to enjoy it, of course. They’re currently in the basement with the kids, covered in glitter stickers and having their hair cornrowed by a five year old.)
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