Some people think living with grandsons must be a burden in our age. Others envy us for the privilege we have seeing up close and personal the growing glory (and pain) of our next generation, and having an integral part in it. The latter get our vote.
Let me count our blessings by Henry and Bobby in this season.
Snow (and we have already had 22 inches of the white stuff) is greeted with unmitigated joy, when my arthritic knees are inclined to get anxious about slipping and sliding. Slipping and sliding are exactly what eleven year old boys enjoy, down the slopes of the nearby elementary school.
Lights, bright ones, are obligatory. Whereas we might have made do with a candle in the window, the twins want lights everywhere, on the shrubs, in the windows, at the dinner table, and on the back lawn. The plastic Santa has yet to be rescued from basement storage, but soon he will be greeting every deer, squirrel, fox, or coyote that drifts by in the slim forest behind our house.
The Christmas tree must be substantial. In our empty nest days we made do with a Charlie Brown perched on a table. If Bobby and Henry had their way, the tree top would scratch the ceiling. We compromised. We found and bought a squat six foot white spruce from the 4H farm nearby. It stands in front of the wide front prospect of windows in the living room. The shades are opened so that joggers, power walkers, bikers, and anyone sauntering by can admire the decorative skills of the Carnes Family.
And presents. Most of you will think me the incarnation of Ebenezer, but the truth of the matter is that Barbara and Bob don't really exchange Christmas presents. I excuse this apparent absence of generosity with a whole list of give and take throughout the year, principally European journeys with our college friends. Besides, what do you get for the man and woman who already have everything? But eleven year olds bring back to us a perspective on gift exchange that we had largely forgotten when the last daughter left home for a life on her own.
Nowadays, however, Thanksgiving is not only the day for the turkey but also for the submission of lists of "All I want for Christmas." Yes, the items are entirely electronic. No problem in this regard for CCRWH who spends an inordinate amount of time every day on a keyboard in front of a monitor. We just drive to the nearest Funcoland and buy everything in sight (well, not really). On the list tendered by twins the last item is "some surprises" which Poppy understands to be the latest Play Station 2 "T" rated game. Walking out of the store with a much lighter wallet, I would dance if I could, so very pleased am I with myself at the thought of how happy a couple of people in our house will be on the morning of December 25th.
And another recent blessing this season by Henry and Bobby: getting to know the neighbors. We tagged along with the twins to an open house given by neighbors with a child in Bugbee School. Ace, by real name, is the child who beaned Bobby with an acorn this past fall, and Bobby, with more than a little of his grandpa's aggressiveness, did not turn the other cheek but pummeled poor Ace with a lot more than acorns. They are now friends! Nothing like a little unmortal combat to bond boys. Ace's Mom had a TexMex repast for the guests. Over chili I bonded with a PhD - MD who has been everywhere and done everything, including siring a daughter, now in the same 5th Grade class as Robert. She thinks the twin rambunctious... which is like telling me the sun shines every morning.
I discovered again that I should practice what I preach, that those who have friends are those who make the effort to be friendly... even in a strange new neighborhood. Thank you, twins, for the nudge in a better direction.
Grace Methodist Nursery School former Director Harriet Cassidy posted a legend on the wall of her office that goes, more or less: "Children are a blessing in our old age... and they help us get there quicker." In truth, getting older, if inevitable, can be, with the blessing of young children, an occasion for reliving the joys (and the embarrassments) of a childhood long left behind... while helping those at the beginning of their life's journey to negotiate the route to maximize the joys and minimize the stupidities.
Take it from one who knows all about his youthful stupidities. CCRWH