Wednesday, April 18, 2012


First some back story. I raised three children to adulthood so it is okay to assume I know a thing or two about kid maintenance. Things like the value of fruits and vegetables, the everyday need for clean underwear, the critical importance of carpools, and how to bury a dead hamster. Important stuff.

Fast forward to being a grandparent. Whole new ball game. M&M pretzels are better than apples and finger painting is more fun than doing laundry. A dynamic shift in the rules and regulations of everyday activities.

So. . .now for the confessions. (Painful, painful confessions because it's hard to admit to your own flaws.) Recently we were asked to kid-sit two grandchildren. Jared, age fifteen, and Anna, age eleven. Piece of cake, right? Especially since their Mom (my daughter Amy) had printed her unabridged eighty page Kid Maintenance Manual and placed it in a ring binder, center stage on the kitchen counter. Everything we needed to know. Phone numbers for pediatricians, dentists, veterinary (dog included  with this assignment), neighbors, emergency contacts. Lists of chores for the kids. (Yeah, like Nana is really going to make the kids do chores.What, and lose her Nana halo?)

The most complicated part of the Kid Maintenance Manual was who had to be where at what time. Swim team, band practice, piano lessons, track practice, youth groups. Each activity had specific times and addresses. The most complicated day was the day we had to pick up Anna at school (remember to bring her a snack), drive her to swim team, and, if Jared had track that day, pick him up and then circle back to pick up Anna from swim team. All of this in Northern Virginia traffic during rush hour. Be still, my heart.

Okay. Got it. Plugged all the relevant addresses into my GPS. Nana obsessive-compulsively organized.  And on swim team day, we left the house, as instructed, promptly at 3:40, jumped in the car, hit the swim team address which had been saved to "favorites" and off we went. It wasn't until we were almost to the athletic center when we realized we hadn't picked up Anna. She sent us a text message, a sad little text message: where r u?

We circled back to the school (it was really rush hour now) and there she was, lonely and forlorn, waiting for us in front of the school. She got into the car and told us the principal said whoever was supposed to pick her up was irresponsible but seemed to understand when Anna explained it was her grandparents. . .as though grandparents, painted with a broad brush, could be excused for being irresponsible.

The next swim team day we did remember to pick Anna up at school and get her to the pool on time but we forgot her swim bag containing suit, towel, goggles and all.

There. Now you know. I am not perfect. I made them Jello with fruit in it. (Yuck.) I made macaroni and cheese from scratch with RoTel tomatoes in it. (Yuck.) But I did buy a big bag of M&M pretzels and we did play some riotous rounds of Scrabble. And I never had to use any emergency phone numbers.

And a good time was had by all!


  1. So you made me laugh so hard I couldn't stop coughing! Did you see all the facebook love your blog evoked when I linked to it from my FB page? Love you.

  2. I really enjoyed that blog. So glad Elisabeth found you on Facebook which somehow came to my FB (still don't understand how this works)..