So what do you do when you have a house full of grandchildren and it is cold and wet outside? Actually, the plan started earlier in the day on Saturday when Jake and his Gram made Gingerbread cookies together. Of course, he wanted an apron on so he wouldn’t get anything on his Texas A&M shirt. It was fun watching him and Gram working together in the kitchen.
Watching the two of them, I had a flashback to my early childhood years when my paternal grandparents lived next door. I frequently had the privilege of baking cookies with Granny. I don’t recall that we ever made Gingerbread Cookies, but oatmeal cookies worked for any occasion and I always valued the shared time with Granny in the kitchen. She had the unique ability to share life lessons, make me feel special and important and simply find joy in the midst of the commonplace.
The General tops the chart when it comes to being a grandmother. She always lovingly goes out of her way to orchestrate activities (regardless of the monetary cost – she’s not counting and neither am I), engage in a myriad of both one-on-one and group activities and make them all feel valued and special. In many respects, watching her interact with her grandchildren reminds me of my own mother.
Mother was the Pied-Piper for kids and she always represented support and encouragement. She also wasn’t shy in advocating for the needs of anyone’s children regards of circumstance if she thought improvement in care or opportunity was needed.
For the past forever, the General has coordinated children’s programs at church. She has a sense of calling that the best possible opportunities need to be afforded children. She invests time to ensure that it happens, but it comes second nature to her. Kids intuitively love and trust her. Aren’t those two natural outcomes from being supportive and sharing quality time?
When it comes to grandchildren, Gram is over the top. She also provides structure in the process. Is anyone surprised by that information? Trust me, when the grandkids are with us, she has a few rules for them as well. However, the grandkids get by with more than I do, but then again, she’s been orchestrating structure for my life for 47 + years. You’d think I’d figure it out by now. Obviously not! On the other hand, maybe I want her to continue to feel needed?
Early Saturday morning while Jake was baking cookies with Gram, his older brother and dad were bonding in a deer blind on land owned by a neighbor. Actually, I call it bonding. For Craig and his kids it’s a lifestyle. The oldest two were loading bullets with Craig before they were old enough to start school. They now range in age from six to twelve and are not strangers to gun safety and marksmanship. When it comes to favorite activities, deer hunting ranks somewhere near the top.
Jenna was at Lilian’s house Friday night and Saturday morning, but by mid afternoon our place looked like a recruiting line-up for Texas A&M with a couple of exceptions. All of the kids (Jenna, Lilian, William and Jake) were wearing A&M jerseys. Of course, Craig never leaves home for leisure time activities without that kind of garb and my niece, Karoni has a menagerie for any occasion. If Texas A&M football is involved, she wears the garb with pride. On the other hand, if there is a party theme, she has the knack to dressing for any and all occasions. I’d recommend therapy, but she isn’t overly motivated to change.
By mid-afternoon, it was time for the Gingerbread cookie icing and decorating activities. The kids did a really good job, but the leisure activities were heavily laced with sugar. I was at a loss for words to see everything that was available for their creative expression. Like I said, the General spares no expense. Any way you express it, “time for creativity” centered around a variety of different colored icing and “sparkles”. I was amazed at the number of topping choices the kids had available for their creative side. It was a little over-done, but the General would prob ably opt to disagree. The important thing is they had fun.
The fun continued right up until game time. Kevin, my son-in-law, who graduated from UT also went to LSU. Obviously, he and Andrea, (my daughter and Longhorn) were rooting for LSU, but how would one know. Both Kevin and Andrea represented a reasonableness that seemed to have it all in proper perspective. The Aggies ( my son and niece (dgt-in-law was absent due to commitment in Cat Spring) had no difficulty getting into the game. On more than one occasion, I had the thought that my son and niece might benefit from social skills training. Unfortunately, neither is motivated to making changes in their spectator game persona. Believe me when I say, “It falls outside the lines of reasonableness”.
If there is an upside, I’m beginning to question that I am hearing impaired. I had no difficulty hearing anything shouted to the coaches or players from the vantage point of my living area. Honestly, no one should take a football game that seriously.
By 10:10 p.m. it was all over. The kids were sent to bed. Since I’m a kid at heart, I figured the 10:10 bedtime would work for me as well. Tomorrow is a new day. If I hope to be on top of my game, I’ll need to be an early riser. I generally tell folks I will be at church unless I sleep in. So far, that’s never been the case, but tomorrow could be the day. Hopefully not!
All My Best!