It’s Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving is a North American holiday that celebrates the European settlers that came to a new land and befriended the native population and just before they took their land and relocated them on the crappiest pieces of real estate they could find, had them over for a big assed meal. Kind of a last supper if you will. Our fore-fathers sure knew how to make us proud. (if you are not reading the sarcasm in that statement, you are reading the wrong blog.)
This weekend Honey and I jumped on a plane and went west to visit BulToo and our four grandchildren. It is much simpler for us to get on a plane then it is to subject that family to fourteen hours of driving in an enclosed vehicle where every ten seconds the parents will be subjected to that ever-endearing question, “are we there yet?”
We landed too early to check in to our hotel so we went directly to their home. That’s right, I don’t stay under the same roof with four screaming children and a pair of stressed-out parents. My love for them has its limits. When we walked in the door it was as if Honey was a child magnet. Whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp! They were attached to her legs before she could get even one shoe off. “Grandma!!” they all shouted except for the youngest who is not quite two yet. He just squealed and joined the crush.
I’m sure that if we lived closer their reaction to their grandmother might be different but I can’t say that with certainty since Honey has a way of making each child feel special. I don’t have that quality, I would rather not get hugged by sticky hands that are covered in orange Cheezee powder and would make them wash them before I let them hug me or at least keep them at arms length. No, I am not uncaring but with limited clothing I prefer to stay cleaner. Honey doesn’t have that aversion and truthfully, they were too entranced with Honey to pay me much attention. I basically got a “Oh, Hi Grumpa,” from the three and I didn’t even get a squeal from the youngest, before they were shouting “Grandma come see…”
It was like watching the Pied Piper. Honey sat, they sat. Honey stood, they stood. Honey went to the kitchen, they went to the kitchen, Honey went to the living room, they went to the living room. I’m sure you get the picture. Each grandchild had an invisible string that was attached to Honey and where she went they followed. They are like Grandma Groupies!
How do I fit into this melee of love? Well on Sunday morning Honey and I decided to take the children and Bull shopping. Allowing Tattoo to start the cooking of the big Thanksgiving feast. She had already been prepping everything the day before and had only left the kitchen a few minutes to rest before returning to the prep work. You would have thought she was feeding an army regiment by the amount of food she was making. On Sunday everything was going in the oven, so getting the children from under foot seemed like the thing to do. Before leaving the home, I sat on the couch beside my oldest grandchild. He looked up at me and said, “Grumpa?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“How much money do you have?” he asked.
A bit startled I said, “Why are you asking me that?”
With absolutely no shame he said to me, “because if we’re going shopping, we might want something.”
That’s how I fit into this puzzle of love, I’m a walking ATM!!! I smiled and told him that I was sure that I had enough to handle it. Then I proceeded to tell him that I was not going to buy them anymore toys. They have toys everywhere! The last thing they needed were more I said to him. That got me a frown but no reply. What can I say… that’s what grumpa’s are for, crushing children’s dreams. At that particular point in time I don’t think he realized that Honey would be the soft touch and that if he truly wanted something all he needed was to plead with her and it would be his.
Four hours of “Can I have…?” was enough to suck the energy right out of me. I sometimes wonder how I ever survived being a parent when my kids were young. Our first stop had been a book store where Odyn (the lead grandchild) had managed to find a book that was also a toy and convinced his grandparents that this is what he needed. A sharp maneuver if you ask me, since the others had to settle for clothing because they waited to see where we would end up next. They’re young, they’ll eventually learn the intricacies of grandparent manipulation.
Our visit has been a pleasure. It is always fun to see our grandchildren and hold their hands when you cross the street. It reminds us of the times when their parents were young and depended solely upon us. Both Honey and I enjoy seeing our sons as parents and watching how they handle the day to day crises of children that we too had to deal with. Grandparenting is a breeze compared to child rearing because we only do the fun part. Our role is to make them smile and to give them hugs (I was only kidding about the orange coloured hands not being able to give me a hug), and unconditional love. Our job is to let these children know that there are people out there, beyond the four walls in which they reside, that love them and care about them and think they are special and will be there to keep them safe whenever they need. Honey is extremely competent when it comes to transmitting these feelings to them and the walking ATM just follows her lead.