Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
By Harvey Blumenthal
Grandma Sandy and I traveled to Bill and Laurie’s home in Potomac, Maryland to help Stevie celebrate his eighth birthday, March 27, 2005.
We arrived on Friday, and the boys immediately took me upstairs to show me Ben’s new bunk beds, their new lava lamps and the new baby furniture for Haylie, who would be born June 23.
After dinner, sprawled on the floor in Ben’s room, the boys urged me to draw Mickey Mouse, one for each of them, and they drew in the colors with the new Crayola marker pens that Grandma Sandy had purchased. Then, Stevie copied a Jayhawk from an old Kansas basketball program. (Bill and Laurie had met at K.U.) Bill suggested they send their drawings, accompanied by a letter, to Keith Langford, a K.U. basketball player; Stevie especially liked Keith because they are both lefties. They both wrote their ages, eight and five, and asked Keith for autographs.
Later, Bill gave the boys a bath while I watched from a safe distance.
They urged me to come close, but I declined because I was not in the mood to get splashed and soaked as I always did when I gave them the bath. Whenever I bathed them, I always pleaded, “Please boys, please, whatever you do— whatever you do— please don’t splash Grandpa!”
Then I lay down with them and we listened to the rain pelting down on the ceiling skylight.
Sunday, as we prepared to return to Tulsa, Stevie pleaded with us, “Why don’t you stay longer? Why can’t you move to Maryland and live near us?”
About the Author
For more from Harvey Blumenthal: A GRAND Day at Yankee Stadium and The Delightful Duties of Grandfathers
About the author: Harvey Blumenthal is a retired physician in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has published many essays and memoirs. He served two years active duty as a Navy physician during the Vietnam War.
A little something for long distance grandparents from Gransnet.com
One of the perks of being a long-distance grandparent is the holiday atmosphere (usually) and the intense quality time when you do get to visit each other. Saying goodbye is hard, but, as The New Granny’s Survival Guide (which is packed full of sage advice from gransnetters who’ve been there) says: “It may be less difficult to say goodbye if everyone knows when the next trip will be.”
This requires a bit of planning to ensure that everyone is happy with the arrangements, and you may find that these (from the Guide) are some helpful questions to consider:
- What is the right amount of visits? Are they prepared to come to you as often as you think they should?
- Do you agree about who is going to visit whom – whether you’ll take it in turns or whether they will always come and see you? (Someone is going to be the guest and someone the host – and that may affect your relationship).
- Do they have room for you to stay, or do you have to organise accommodation?
- Do you want to stay there, or would you rather be able to come and go as you please? Conversely, do you want all the work of entertaining them?
Gransnetters on our forum have plenty to say on the subject of visiting, including harrigran, who says: “I think it is important not to outstay your welcome and do what we always say… bite your tongue, they have all these books you see that tell them how to do things properly.”