Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grandparents

Yes you are finally getting a real blog.
I have been thinking a lot about grandparents lately. I happen to have the best grandparents in the world. I am not bragging or being boastful I am just speaking truth. I have such fond memories of time spent with both sets of grandparents.
Each Memorial Day weekend would kick off the summer of camping and fishing with my maternal grandparents. It was Grandma and Grandpa Chase, Aunt Ellen and Uncle Robert and their kids, Lisa, Lee Ann and Eric and our family, Mom, Dad,Katie, Roy and I.
Us four girl cousins usually slept in a tent pitched on the back of a flat bed truck. We performed our own version of "Annie" which was really just us singing "Tomorrow" and "It's A Hard Knock Life" over and over again until I am sure the adults were ready to pull their hair out. We fell asleep to the sounds of Reds baseball on the radio. And of course the Indy 500!
We girls soon figured out that Grandpa Chase was a pushover. All we had to do is say we liked something and he would buy it for us. Grandma stopped letting Grandpa carry money.
My maternal grandparents owned and operated a farm. They had dairy cows and raised tobacco and corn and a huge garden. Some of our cousins lived just down the road from Grandma and Grandpa Richards. There was a swing in the shady backyard that Grandma would almost always stop what she was doing to push us if we asked. She could always push us high enough to touch the high branches with our feet. Grandpa Richards was gruffer than Grandpa Chase but in his own way he was a pushover. For instance, one summer Kate and I and our cousins Beth and Belinda were staying at for a few days. Grandpa took the racks from his truck and put them in the backyard with a tarp over it so we could have a playhouse.
One of us noticed a small hole in the tarp. We decided a skylight would be a wonderful addition to our playhouse. Grandpa was coming in from the field for dinner. He saw the hole and asked what happened. Then he walked into the house without a word. I am sure Grandma heard all about it but we never heard a word of reproach.
Another time our family was helping with the hay. Grandma was driving the tractor, Dad was stacking the bales on the wagon and Grandpa, Mom, Katie, Roy and I were throwing the bales on the wagon. It was hot and bales of hay are not the lightest things in the world. After a couple of rows my face was bright red. Just then Grandpa happened to look at me. He was sure I was about to faint from heat exhaustion. He told me to go sit down. So I did. Mom did not hear him and told me to get back up and start helping. So I did. And then Grandpa told me to sit down. Then Mom told me... well you get the picture. Finally, Mom and Grandpa squared off. Grandpa insisted I was getting too hot. Mom insisted I was there to help and I was going to help. That's the day I learned to drive a tractor.
We had big family celebrations for Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving. At both grandparents we played games and ate huge meals and talked for hours.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I am a grandmother to two beautiful and brilliant grandsons. I am sure I am not biased in that opinion. Every stranger and old school mate I show their pictures too in Wal-Mart agree.
I always dreamed of being the kind of grandparent that I have always had but I fear that it will never be. I  have come to realize that I was very fortunate. My parents were married until I was 20. So we only had 2 sets of grandparents to visit with.
Because my husband and I have both been married before and our parents are divorced, our children have no less than four sets of grandparents.Then you have to add in the in laws, who are also divorced.
Grandpa Chase was medically retired from the Navy so he was always available even though Grandma worked in a factory. Grandma and Grandpa Richards were available because they worked where they lived. My husband and I are not as available as our grandparents were because we have to provide a living for our children still living at home as well as chauffeuring them to their activities. Our children also have to provide for their families.
I always told my children that it was my job to work myself out of a job by making them productive, responsible members of society. I am finding however that I must have done a really good job. I have not adjusted well to not being needed as much. In fact I have made it downright difficult for them at times. As I my son recently, God does not turn the switch for wanting to spend time with your children off when they turn 18. The feelings seem to intensify for grandchildren.
Although  I may never be the kind of grandparent I was blessed with I pray that I will be able to make memories with my grandchildren that are just as special.

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