It’s Thursday afternoon, and I’m helping my mom package some dolls she’s sold on eBay while the boys try to coax their aunt’s pet snake out of the woodchips carpeting the bottom of his terrarium. I see a large skeleton still hanging on my parents’ kitchen curtain rod (I come by mytaking-holiday-decorations-down procrastination honestly), and I tell the kids to go check it out because they have a weird love affair with skeletons.
The next thing I know, my mom is excitedly producing not just one, but two skeletons with clacking jaws and wiggling bony limbs. My mom starts teaching her grandsons how to dance the skeletons so their jaws go clackity-clack and their feet tapdance on the wooden floor, and N chimes in with “the skellies on the bus go jingle jangle jingle…”. The boys are elated at the fun interaction with their grandma, and soon I am volunteering at my mom’s suggestion to knit Christmas hats and scarves for the skeletons (because *that* would make them appropriately-themed holiday decor).
My mom is not the typical grandma, if there even is such a thing anymore. With three adopted, teenaged daughters at home and a full-time career supplemented by a zillion hobbies, she isn’t home babysitting my boys or taking them to the park. Although we live only a mile from them, we definitely don’t see one another enough in a way just dedicated to hanging out or enjoying the grandma/grandson relationship. There’s no one to blame and no use doing so – it’s just the way our lives have evolved, and despite the atypical life we all have, my boys are incredibly close to Grandma and Papa.
Which makes interactions like singing and dancing with creepy jolly skeletons in a living room full of packing supplies all the more special. Seeing my mom be with my boys like that reminds me why we will always live close to her and how much she has to offer my kids. Not every child needs a grandma who knits them sweaters and walks them to the park – some would rather sing a goofy song with bony toes tapping out the rhythm of their grandma’s laughter. And I would rather have a mom who appreciates the joy little boys get from these authentic interactions, even if it means I’m left sitting on the couch knitting hats and scarves for her pair of Christmas skeletons.
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