Friday, October 19, 2007

Grandparents Day

I am so busy. It reminds me in a way of the time after my mother's death. Then there were so many new things that required me to adjust to them and there were so many things to do. I knew then that I was not taking the time to grieve my mother's death - couldn't really. Eventually I came to terms with her absence but whether I really experienced the grief of her passing is still unclear. It may be that way now with my dad's death.

Life surges around me like a river engorged by flood and debris. I do what is necessary and in order of appearance and I enjoy it so. In the chaos of the whirlpool there is no time for reflection or stillness but only for action. And even if there is a placid place I don't really want to stop. Eventually I have to of course and I will. But riding the rapids is exhilarating now. Maybe because it is so opposite to the previous experience. It is ironic, too, because that life was also like a river with rapids. But so different.

Thursday was my first ever Grandparents Day at the school that 3 of my grandchildren attend. I have one in 4th grade, one in 2nd grade, and one in 1st grade. My daughter-in-law says I attended once before when the 4th grader was in pre-K. I do not remember it but I defer with respect to a better historian. Still for me it is my first in emotion and memory if not in the physical.

It is a private Christian school and the event began with assorted breakfast goodies in the reception area of the church associated with the school. It is a large place and when I parked (my son later said he parked in a "sea of Buicks" which made me laugh) a nice young high school age fellow asked me if I wanted a ride on one of the many golf carts that were plucking us up in a little groups here and there. I didn't really need a ride but somehow felt it would be more gracious to accept. There were a lot of old people there and many of them did need rides.

I searched the sea of faces for my son's inlaws but did not find anyone familiar. So I entered the auditorium (also of the church) and two nice ladies helped me find a seat. But then I moved three times to better see the stage and perhaps click a photo or two. Just when I was settled my daughter-in-law's father found me and I joined them in an extra seat they had reserved for me. And around them were sitting others I had known from years before. I would not have known them but it was good to see them again.

Each class presented a song. My 1st grader has apparently inherited my disability to incorporate hand movements while also singing I noticed. All of the children were marvelous and I judged my own particularly so.

I did not win anything. First we stood if we had 5 grandchildren and we couldn't count our step-ones. But quickly I resumed my seat and ultimately one person remained with 21. Neither did I have the most great-grand-children (as I have none) but someone had a bunch. I didn't have the youngest. I was not from the farthest either and that went to someone from Oregon. And the winner of the oldest grandchild was a man who had a 45 year old. (I figured he was driving one of the Buicks!)

Then it was to the classrooms and my son's mother-in-law took the lead with me and her husband trailing behind in hopes of not becoming separated and lost. But when my 4th grader saw us the leadership role was forevermore lost to her. She told us "now follow me and don't get lost." And we did. We saw the work and met the teacher and took a picture and then we repeated that 2 more times with each other child. Then we had a rather fast tour of the music room, art room, and library. My 2nd grader won something for his painting of a boot.

The next big event was shopping at the store. My grandchildren were all exceedingly excited about this opportunity. I asked Kay what to do and she said she gave each one $5. I asked her if she was going in there (to the store) with them. She was so I gave her $30 and fought my way upstream to try to join Bob, her husband. But he had escaped already! So I stood by the wall where the boot painting was displayed and waited.

Then we all went to lunch and they told me to go to a Chili's except I had no idea where it was. My 4th grader and my 1st grader accompanied me. This was another first for me. I had never transported a grandchild in my car before. I am not wise in the ways of children either. I said "Who's riding in front?" and my 1st grader said "I have to sit in back Pop." But my 4th grader climbed in the front. Only later did I learn her parents also make her ride in the back.

Then on the way my 1st grader was saying something about Star Burst candy and I thought he was offering me one. And I said I didn't want one. And they laughed at me. My 4th grader, patiently, explained that her brother was asking my permission to eat one of the candies of the horde he bought at the store. Ah Ha! I remembered from my own child rearing days that children did ask permission for various things. But then I thought to myself that I didn't really know the answer to this question so I looked over at my 4th grader and said "Well, can he have one?" and she, looking at me a little strangely, said "sure" and so my permission was granted.

I became lost of course on the drive. I had to turn around and that was a little awkward. My 1st grader commented "Pop, you have a map" because my car has one of those navigation deals. He was being smart-alecky either.

Finally we arrived and I even remembered to help my charges out of the car and to watch for cars as we crossed the parking lot. Everyone else was awaiting us and my son, with some sense of glee, commented on my being lost.

It was 12:30 or later when my grandparents day ended and I resumed my race once again. It ended too soon really.


Lori1955 said...

Oh Terry, it sounds like such a wonderful day. Don't worry, your grandchildren will teach you what to do. Strange to enter back in the real world isn't it.

SKYGIRL said...

OH Flinty, I just love the way you write. I know you don't realize it, but you are an extraordinary writer! (It is the way that you bring someone right along with you, you feel as if you are actually...there?)

I love that you says things such as "My 1st Grader" You have been folded back into "Your" Life, it is really quite exciting! And yes, I also have Grandpa envy, it appears.

I'm glad you received those development plans. I thought the PDF Document Blueprints, would appeal to your Enginerry side! LOL!

Amelia said...

ahh...making memories with the grandchildren.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Oh, Terry, it sounds like you had a wonderful day, even if you did get a "little" lost. Grandchildren are wonderful. Sounds like yours are no exception. Glad you had a great grandparents day.

cornbread hell said...

hey, Pop! i always enjoy your posts, but this one really shines.

a favorite line: "...I thought to myself that I didn't really know the answer to this question so I looked over at my 4th grader..."

steflovesnonna said...

YAY GRANDPARENTS DAY!!!!!!!!! :D I love grandparents!!!!!!! *HUGS* Thanks for the photos they are just great!

nancy said...

it sounds as if it were a perfect day. you will get the hang of reacclimating yourself back into the real world. your grandkids and judy will help.

it sounds as if you are doing ok. i pray for that. loved this post. thanks.

~Betsy said...

I can't help thinking you must feel like you have come out of a cave or something. It's almost unbelievable you haven't transported your grandkids before. But I'm so glad you are doing it now.

I also loved that you had to look to your 4th grader for permission - such a telling statement.

Thank you for such a wonderful post, Terry. I hope you have many more special Grandparent's day.

nancy said...

adorable picture of you and your granddaughter. i can't tell who looks happier!

cornbread hell said...

ain't that the truth, nancy!

Cinnamin said...

Welcome back to the world, Terry! Looks to me like you are off to a great start!