Over the last several years you’ve given me the privilege to talk to you about a number of subjects in this column. It’s called More Straight Talk, because that is exactly what it is meant to be. I really don’t try to sell you anything here, but instead just offer my honest and open comments about whatever seems to interest me when I sit in front of this electronic bullhorn of mine.
I am amazed at how many of you stop me at the grocery store, in a restaurant, at a social event or just at the car wash to chat about a column I’ve written and how you may have connected with those words. I must tell you those interactions are sometimes the highlight of my day and I appreciate the time we spend together.
In February, my friend Janet and I entertained her son Charlie and his family when they came to visit from Copenhagen in Denmark. He and his lovely wife Berit met when she was an exchange student here in the states during college. One thing would lead to another, and these two fine young adults would make a long-distance relationship work and eventually would make a collaborative decision to marry and live in Denmark.
They now have two absolutely beautiful children; a little boy Louie and a charming little girl Olivia 3½ years old. Janet has become somewhat of a frequent flyer going to Denmark two to three times a year and that may increase some as they’ve blessed us with the news that they’ll be expecting another little girl sometime this summer.
I’ve never had any children of my own and that will be one of my greatest disappointments in life. I do, however, enjoy the time we spend with Charlie’s family and Janet’s daughter and husband’s little boy, Bronson. They live in the Chicago area, and he will turn four later this month.
It’s amazing how quickly they grow up, how they change and take on a personality of their own. One is adventurous, the other may be a little shy, and yet another that just can’t stop seeking your attention.
One thing is for sure, they really do enjoy the pool. From the minute they get up in the morning to the minute they collapse at night. They love the water, whether its on top, on the bottom or just floating on a tube. Janet also took them all to the beach one day. They couldn’t stop looking for shells and enjoying the gentle waves here on the Gulf of Mexico.
I guess the worst thing that comes along with grandkids, is how easily they manipulate their grandparents. This causes their parents to give the seniors in the room a bit of a glare if you let the little “angels” do something that wouldn’t normally be allowed.
One of the great advantages of grandkids when they are young, is the fun you can have with them without spending a lot of money. A kid that can have fun with a bucket and plastic shovel and a beach full of sand is a gift from God. At this age all they need is swim trunks, a tee shirt and flip flops, not a pair of blue jeans that have a couple of zeros before the decimal point on the price tag.
Janet reminds me that these are the years which you enjoy them the most. She’s right, they are so precious and unassuming. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a meltdown now and again, but the great thing there is we don’t have to be the disciplinarian, instead we can just sit back and let mom and dad do their jobs.
Nothing was more pleasurable than sitting on the lanai and having little Olivia run out and model the latest little dress that grandma had waiting for her in the special box of treasures. Or to have Louie come over and say, “Stef, you promised to play cards,” and watch his eyes light up when I pulled the card box out from under the chair. They would glow even brighter when he won the first game and then the next.
They are a special gift, those grandkids of yours and I will miss those little ones of ours. I will miss the wonderful feeling that rushed through me when little Olivia curled up on my lap and fell asleep one of those nights. They had exhausted themselves, our little dog Maddie and Olivia, running and playing frisbee. There was Maddie, snuggled in-between me and the arm of the recliner, sound asleep and little Olivia curled up snoozing away on my stomach, while I quietly sat enjoying my two little guests and enjoying that special feeling of contentment myself.
God bless grandkids. They are the best!