Long story short, “I was buffaloed by my granddaughters”. Twelve is a remarkable age. Both granddaughters are twelve going on twenty (oops, I mean 13). Both have reached the age that they don’t necessarily think granddad is all that smart. Of course, any hints to that effect have been marginally subtle. Neither would color completely outside the lines and express it directly. However, I was 12-going-on-13 once and I remember how smart I was and how antiquated and archaic I thought my folks were. My granddaughter’s don’t want to hurt my feelings, but they also don’t want to let me be the final word when it comes to securing permission to do x, y, or z.
Obviously, there is some basis for their observation. To begin with, what other conclusion could they reach if the General has to remind me of every essential associated to living. Of course, I’m saying that tongue-in-cheek, but behind every comedy line is an element of truth. I do get more than my share of oversight and gentle direction. I started to say, redirection, but at my age I’ve gotten slow enough that the general is pelting out the “Do you want to…” questions before I’m engaged in doing something else. Of course the only acceptable answer is “Yes, that is exactly what I want to do. Whatever you say dear”. I’m reluctant to say that I’m at her beckoned call, but hang around me long enough and you’ll probably draw that same opinion. She doesn’t need a crash course in assertiveness training. She’s got it down to a fine art.
Dealing effectively with the General is a lot like my philosophy of dealing with children. Why not say, “Yes” to as many requests as you can? After all, if folks sense they have a voice in carrying out their personal agenda, it always is a feel good experience.
Under the auspices of “Granddad, let us help you out”, I succumbed to my granddaughter’s gracious insistence to clean the kitchen last night. Following dinner, the General along with my son and daughter-in-law went over to look at the new swimming pool at my daughter and son-in-law’s house. It had been filled with water that day. Of course, Andrea and Kevin were also here for dinner. That meant all the adults with the exception of myself were going to look at the pool. I had seen it earlier in the day.
I offered to provide oversight to the kids and the dogs. I also had been responsible for grilling hamburgers for the evening meal. My two granddaughters had made lemon bars for desert. It was a fun evening, but the kitchen looked like a disaster zone. I was in the process of beginning to put away leftovers when one of the granddaughters said: “Granddad, don’t do that. Let us do it for you. You go do something else and we will take care of the kitchen”.
I figure, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” I thanked them for their offer and headed for my computer. Of course, Jake was at my side. He wanted to listen to music on my computer. The kid definitely has a propensity for enjoying the sounds of almost any kind of music. He puts himself in to it, garners the tunes and memorizes the words. He is a natural for getting into the zone. The shared time was great.
It was probably close to a long time later that I ventured back toward the kitchen. I expected it to look “spic and span”. Horror of horrors, it looked like a war zone. Both girls were in the process of making cookies from scratch. They were almost ready to put them in the oven, but flour, sugar, this and that had been added to the litany of things that were now scattered all over the kitchen counter top. You have no idea of the magnitude of the mess they had made.
I didn’t have to ask, “What are you doing?” I was smart enough to figure that out. I did ask, “Did you girls think about asking permission before you decided to do all of this?” They smiled in my direction and said, “No sir.” I guess, they’ve figured out that forgiveness is easier to come by than permission, so why not go for the forgiveness. I did remind them that since they had made the offer to clean the kitchen, I was holding them to their commitment. When they finished the cookies, they had a very big project in store. Fortunately, they didn’t offer a rebuttal and they subsequently put the kitchen back together. Of course, by then the other adults were back and I had reinforcement.
My oldest grandson is going to some kind of workshop/camp experience relating to acting in a couple of weeks. That surprised me. He has a great sense of humor, but he is generally pretty quiet and reserved. I didn’t suspect that drama would be one of his interests. His aunt Dre’ asked him if he spent a lot of time looking in the mirror. She remembers from her childhood that her brother spent an inordinate amount of time looking back at himself. William’s response to her question was very much in line with something his father would have said. He responded: “A bit more than most, but then again, I have something to look at”.
At some point in the evening, the General was sharing a story at my expense. It was something that happened in the early months of our marriage. She made the assertion, “Don was only 21 and I was 19 when we got married”. There was a look of shock and surprise on William’s face before he interrupted. He said, “Wait. Gram, are you saying there is only two years difference in your ages?” Without waiting for an answer, he went on: “Gram, I thought your were five-to-ten years younger than Granddad. I can’t believe there is only two years difference.”
Without missing a beat, I responded to William, “Well, can you now believe you are in a world of trouble with me?” He simply smiled.
All of the grandkids will be going home later today. It will once again be quiet in the house. I don’t suspect that we will fully recover “spic and span” order totally before the day is over, but the General has all day tomorrow to restore the house to her expectations while I’m at work. For that I am grateful. I really do value everything in place and nothing out of order.
All My Best!