We went to my grandma's (My grandpa is still alive too, but for some reason, to me, it's always been "grandma's house") house this weekend. My neice Marley had her 5th birthday party there on Saturday. We made sure to go early so Ally could have lots of time to play. We knew that Christy's other kids were coming with mom later, but Marley was already there. It was great. My cousin Collin got there just as we did, and he is great! with the kids. He's 16, I think, and a boy (and his dad is one of those guys that thinks licking his fingers and then touching your glasses is funny. Uncle Rick, I still haven't forgiven you for that!). You'd think those 2 (3) things would prevent it, but he plays wonderfully with the kids (But when Ally told him she had to potty, that's where he drew the line. heh, heh). Love having him around! It was a very good day. Ally and Anya both really enjoyed themselves. And there was enough family around that Rob and I got some help to enjoy ourselves too. Anya even stood up for a while on her own completely unprompted.
But then my grandma said something to me that keeps coming back to me. She said "It's great getting to know you again" I kinda shrugged and agreed with her at the time, but it has really made me think about our relationship. I've really neglected them for a long time. My mom and grandparents haven't always had a good relationship, and I think that has kind of rubbed off on me. Then, for the longest time, Rob's schedule was so restricting that we hardly had time to visit our own parents, let alone our grandparents. Now that he is working like a normal person, we've decided to spend more time giving the kids a chance to get to know my grandparents. We visited in November and Ally amazed us with her pure exuberance for running through the countryside and throwing rocks in the pond. So we went back at Christmas. I don't think I've seen them this much since I was in high school. And maybe not that much then. I really want Ally and Anya to have the chance to make friends with their grandparents.
So in honor of my committment to making new memories, I've decided to share some of my old ones (with the disclaimer that my memory is horrible and my subconscious sometimes fills in the blanks. I may remember things wrong):
- My mom used to have a rule that we couldn't buy any cereal that listed sugar as it's first ingredient. Grandma didn't have that rule. We alwasy had Apple Jacks at her house.
- You never eat the Apple Jacks unless you've seen Grandma buy it yourself this visit. Or anything else, for that matter. Always check expiration dates.
- I remember waking up in the morning, and going downstairs for breakfast. I'd always find Grandpa at the table (reading the paper? I don't know) drinking his coffee. Usually grandma was making bacon. Grandpa had sugar and creamer on the table in these old containers shaped like the old milk canisters. You kow, the old metal ones with handles on the sides. One was cream colored and one was brown. Those containers ARE Grandpa to me.
- he'd always take my hand in his and in a real serious voice, ask me "So how is your dad?" His hands always seemed so big and strong. They dwarfed my little ones.
- Grandma told me once that your hair wasn't clean unless it sqeaked after you washed it. She used to fold the ends over on another and rub them together to check for squeaks. I wonder if that's what the whole "squeaky clean" thing was based on?
- Grandma always had candy hidden somewhere, especially in the cabinet in her headboard. That was one thing you never had to check the expiration on.
- We used to hide Easter eggs in the front yard. I don't remember finding them, but I remember being old enough to hide them for the littler ones. There are some good hiding places on the front porch. The porch is raised off the ground a couple feet, with stairs leading up. On either side of the stairs, there is a brick wall under the porch. It has a pattern like a diamond made from missing bricks. There was always an egg in those.
- I loved Grandma's front porch swing.
- There was a huge tree in the front yard by the mailbox. Or at least I remember it as huge. At the bottom of the tree there was a hole for some reason. Everyone likes to tell the story of the day Grandma went to get the mail and saw a snake in the tree. She screamed her head off. Grandma is deathly afraid of snakes.
- Grandma used to make everyone underpants. I don't know why, but it was her thing. She doesn't sew as much anymore, but Ally has one pair that Grandma made her. It took her hours, she said. She used to be able to do it in 10 minutes or so. In fact, when Naomi was potty training (OMG that was around 7-8 years ago!!) she had an accident there and no extra panties, so Grandma just ran upstairs and made her some. Ta-da!
- We used to play in the closets all the time. All three closets upstairs are very large. We used to turn them in to forts and clubhouess. You could only get in if you had the secret password. Once upon a time I found The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in there. It was my uncle Roger's. I had never read it before, and I think I stole it.
- The bedrooms are upstairs and the family room was directly underneath the heating vents in one room. We used to sit in the bedroom after we were supposed to be asleep and listen to the older family talk throught the vent.
- One day we pulled it up and found a Playboy that my uncle (Toader?) had hidden in there. It was the first Playboy I had ever seen. We didn't tell anyone.
- Grandma had laundry in the basement. She had a laundry shute in the bathroom above it. It was great. In fact I want something like that in my next house. There was also a clothesline next to the chute (I think). My sister, cousins and I used to slide down throught he chute and grab the line and climb down into the basement that way. It was our own private jungle gym. I don't think we were suposed to do it, so we had to try to be sneaky.
- Grandpa had a dog named Ginger. She was one of the nicest dogs I can ever remember. She used to race the van or truck down the field every time we left the house.
- I spent a lot of time at the bookstore that they ran. I could read anything I wanted as long as I was very careful not to damage the spine or bend the pages. Then, when I was done, they could still sell it. I was in heaven.
- Grandma had an old computer (I'm talking old here. Dot-matrix printer and everything) that she sometimes let us play with. She had the original Print Shop and I loved playing with all the graphics. She even had extra graphics cds. Loved it.
- Sometimes she'd let us get lunch from the gas station behind the building. They had these little fried mini-tacos there that I never had anywhere else. Now they sell all kinds of them in stores, but then, they were a rare treat.
- The barn ALWAYS had kittens. you always had to search for them, but they were there. I wouldn't even begin to be able to count the number of kitten-searches we went on. And they were never inthe same place, because invariably, our searches made the mamas nervous and they would move soon after being discovered.
- Grandma's phone number was on her license plate. Well, the last 4 at least. I can never forget it.
- Church. Oh my God. Lots of church.
- One day on the way to Sunday school, we stopped at the grocery store for treats. Grandma had her hands full and stuck a bag of M&Ms in her pocket to carry and forgot to pay for it. She found it during church and was mortified. We had to stop at the store on the way home to pay for it.
I could go on and on. In fact, it kinda looks like I already have. :) Grandma and Grandpa, I love you and I hope my kids will have a chance to make just as many memories of their own. And more.