When I was little, I spent a week every summer with my grandparents. My favorite part of those weeks was picking raspberries from their raspberry orchard and eating them. Right there, in the orchard. The berries that ended up in my bucket would be spooned onto a bowl of ice cream later that day. To this day, I adore fresh berries of any kind. I also loved playing shuffleboard with Grandpa. Spending time with my grandparents was fun.
Last year, Teddy had his first visit alone with his grandparents. When our little munchkin was 6 months old, my parents decided to fly out over Memorial Day weekend. We had a wedding to attend in Upstate New York (which we’d RSVP’d to months prior without any idea how we’d make it happen) and realized, with my parents in town to stay with Teddy, we could make a weekend of it with visits to Albany (I have a bucket list wish to tour every state capitol) and Cooperstown (home of baseball, and a bucket list wish for Mike). We had a great time, although I’d freak out a little bit if I hadn’t heard from my parents by text for a few hours.
I needn’t have worried, of course. Even when Teddy was just a few months old, my parents were already expert in spoiling him—and disregarding any directions we’d written out. Which is their job. I understand that. Listening to him cry in his crib, for even a few minutes? Why do that when Grandma has a comfy lap, warm arms, and a rocker? Feed him solid food he’s not a huge fan of? Grandma doesn’t force her grandson to do anything he doesn’t want to do. These things made the mother in me cringe a little, but it made the granddaughter in me very, very happy. I think at only half a year old, Teddy was already starting to learn that time with Grandma and Grandpa is fun.
This year, my parents’ visit coincided with plans we’d made to visit Cape Cod (via Boston and Providence, capitols 17 and 18). Once again, we had a great, relaxing time, although we were a bit baffled by the glowing text reports we received. We know Teddy is a great kid, but no tantrums? Eating well? Who was this child we’d left with my parents? Turns out “eating well” meant he’d gladly scarfed the fruit rollups, frozen yogurt, and ice cream Grandma and Grandpa had offered him. And what need is there for a tantrum when you’re never told “no”? Again, the mother in me wanted to groan when I heard my parents had thrown our list of food options out the window. But the granddaughter in me pointed out that no visit with Grandma and Grandpa is complete without a sugar rush.
And this time when we returned, my parents informed us that Teddy had acquired new skills (beyond peeling sugary sheets of fruit from plastic). Grandma prompted Teddy with the first words of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (which Mike has faithfully sung to Teddy since we brought him home) and Teddy joined in, staying true to the melody, even if he wasn’t enunciating every syllable—until, that is, they got to the end, when he energetically, clear as a bell, and right on cue exclaimed, “One, two, three” and then mumbled the rest. But no matter. Daddy’s eyes were still sweating. Turns out he can also “sing along” to “Amazing Grace.”
So to summarize, when Grandma and Grandpa visit, Mama and Daddy can jet off for a wonderful weekend away; back home, the rules are suspended, and Teddy enjoys three days with Grandma and Grandpa doting on him; and Mama and Daddy return to a child who can sing along to their favorite songs. I believe they call that #Winning.