I knew the time would come, and probably, regrettably, sooner than later, when my grandchildren wouldn’t be so eager to have outings and sleepovers with us. Actually, the sleepovers have pretty much halted since we downsized and there’s no longer separate upstairs bedrooms with real beds. It’s only fun camping out in a sleeping bag on the living room floor when you’re seven or eight — after that, not so much.
This past Saturday was my grandson’s turn for a daylong visit, which I always meticulously plan so it’s full of fun, adventure, bonding, education (which consists of us learning about him with carefully worded questions and him learning about us with carefully crafted stories). When we all were together for a birthday party, I had noticed something different, some subtle changes, but that didn’t become obvious until we picked him up and I began with, “First, we’ve got two huge tag sales to check out” and a firm voice in the backseat replied, “I’m not interested in tag sales anymore, Oma.”
I was shocked — this from a kid who just several short months ago was so thrilled to be helping me with my own tag sale that he volunteered to camp out on our living room floor overnight to get an early start. He had also happily volunteered last year to join his sisters selling coffee and donuts at my church tag sale. Nonetheless, a seasoned event-planner (and seasoned grandchild-entertainer) always has a Plan B. I had received an email that morning about the birth of twin heifers at a local Goshen farm and they were holding a contest to name the girls. Since my grandson has twin sisters and lives on a small farm where he is usually the one to name the 24 or so spring lambs, I thought this was a slam dunk. Also, adjacent to the dairy barn is a fabulous milkhouse chocolate shop which he greatly enjoyed visiting in the past.
My grandson was mildly interested in viewing the adorable twin heifers, cuddled with their Mom in the maternity pen. When pressed for appropriate names, he could only think of one: Twix. That happens to be his favorite candy bar and I thought it was a cute calf name. But he declined to have his picture taken with the calves and, Shock Number Two, showed no interest in going into the chocolate shop.
I was relieved when he produced a homemade gift certificate I’d given him for Christmas: $25 to be spent at Game Stop. Now that’s the kid we know and love! He spent some time, although nowhere near the exhausting length of search conducted by his sisters when cashing in a gift certificate at this favorite shop. He walked up to the counter, plunked down three items, then turned to me. I handed him $25 in cash which he graciously accepted, then pulled bills out of his wallet to pay for the rest. Shock Number Three. His sisters would have been wheedling and whining in an ultimately fruitless entreaty, but he came prepared to take home exactly what he wanted.
When we ticked off everything else on my schedule, I asked “What fun thing do you want to do now?” and Shock Number Four was the reply “I just want to hang out and talk with you and Opa.” And so we did — no TV, no computer, not even Electronic Monopoly — just comfy on the couch, sharing stories, jokes and memories.
The pages are turning, new chapters are being written with every get-together, and soon he’ll be writing his own narrative. I can’t wait to read it.