The 1970's green mint walls in my elementary school cafeteria echoed our little voices, making everything louder and muffled at the same time. I sat in a pretty skirt, white socks and saddle shoes, my feet dangling, too short to reach the floor. Next to me sat someone who wasn't your typical first grader; she was a lady with curled gray hair, a shirt and shoes that matched, and jewelry to pull the outfit together. She put a pat of butter on my roll and then tended to hers. She looked down at me and smiled. She was my grandma, and I was so proud to have her with me at the Grandparents Day lunch.
Unlike my issues with Mother's Day, I really have no qualms shelling out cash for cards and trinkets, spending time helping the boys make pictures and little gifts. I call my paternal Grandma every Wednesday, but I want to do a little something else this weekend. I love celebrating grandparents, most especially my grandparents. I'm one of those lucky thirty-somethings in that my older generations tended to procreate early, thus I still have a still-living, 90-something great-grandmother to shower with love this weekend.
I know my time with all of my remaining grandparents is limited, which also forces me to think about how my own children love and adore their mortal grandparents. They don't all live close enough to attend a Grandparent's Day lunch or go out to lunch on any random Sunday, so it's up to the two of us parents to schedule time, to take time out of our own schedules so that they have these hazy, noisy memories of pats of butter and time well spent. It feels heavy, that responsibility, but we try our best.
I'm keenly aware of the responsibility this year. Tomorrow I will stand with my cousins as they say goodbye to their grandfather, their dad's dad. They traveled to be with us when my grandfather unexpectedly died; my eldest cousin getting in trouble with a college professor because he wasn't her "real" grandfather. My youngest cousin is only eight; losing a grandpa at eight seems unfair -- but a reality that floats in the back of my mind. I'll have my boys shower their grandpa, their Papau, with cards and love -- and their grandma, two great-grandmas and their great-great-grandma. I'll be a little kinder to my 13-year-old cousin. I'll hug my own grandmas and tell them I love them. And I'll say a little prayer on Sunday night that I get another Grandparent's Day to go out of my way and spend time with those who have shaped various portions of who I am -- with genetics and with love, with presence and with absence.
Thanks to Grandma's Briefs, I found this lip-syncing grandparents version of "Call Me Maybe." Quite honestly, it may be my favorite. Even better than Cookie Monster.
I'm not sure I can get my grandparents to sing "Call Me Maybe" this weekend, but I hope to reminisce with them and pull out the photo albums at my parents' house -- while capturing a few new photos of the boys with their various grandparents. But maybe you can't visit or call with grandparents -- yours or your kids -- this weekend due to time, distance or mortality. Will you instead share a favorite grandparent story with us here or on your blog and share the link? I adore grandparent stories.
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