Grandparenting. The blessings, miracles and joys are beyond explanation.
Grandparenting. The time to indulge, wink and defy. Wait. Did I just write the word defy?
OK. Maybe I did. But that’s the way I am feeling this morning. My defiance involves a kitchen cabinet. Let me put it this way…
In my kitchen, there is a cabinet. In that cabinet, there are drinking vessels. Into those drinking vessels, we pour all kinds of drinks… like milk, juice, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, sports drinks. With those drinking vessels, we celebrate life, if but for a few moments. We sit, relax, enjoy the warmth or chill with our hands. We take it to go. Or maybe we feel the rush of electrolytes or the joy of sharing. We fill our bodies, our minds and our souls. This is a special cabinet where my grandchildren know I will find the right vessel for the right drink at the right moment.
So what’s missing? Henry’s bottle. That’s what.
Audrey and Matt decided recently that Henry, at 2 years and 3 months, is too old for his bottles. Now that’s all well-and-good in their world (and who am I to interfere with their parenting?). But we’re talking my world, my kitchen, my kitchen cabinet, my grandson, my Henry. Are you beginning to feel the defiance? Ha! So there!
Yes, I kept one bottle. One lone bottle. One celebration. One special space in that kitchen cabinet of mine. And on this past Monday, lo-and-behold, I was watching Henry at my home and he wandered into my kitchen all thirsty and beautiful and innocent… right to the kitchen cabinet where I keep my miracle vessels… and I can just imagine how that cabinet looks from way down there where a child stands… and how he must have been singing silent Hallelujahs deep down in his beautiful little soul when Grandma opened that kitchen cabinet… probably playing in slow motion in his beautiful little mind… and there was a bottle. His only bottle leftover from his parents’ decision. He stared a moment… then whispered… whispered… “my bah-bah”… awestruck.
Yes, Henry, this is what grandparents do. They defy.
I filled Henry’s vessel with cold milk and followed him into my family room to watch Max & Ruby. This is what we’ve always done. He melted into Pop-up’s leather recliner and I covered him with his blankie… the blue one with the white clouds… all the way down to his little piggy-toes. This is what we do. And we celebrated life and love with his little bah-bah and blankie and Max & Ruby and me. This is what we do.
Then the door opened. And there were the parents. Uh, oh. I got the stern look, the shake of the heads and the beginning of the deal on why bottles were no longer part of Henry’s repertoire. BUT… BUT… this is MY kitchen… my KITCHEN CABINET… my keeper of all vessels good and wondrous and… ALL THAT. The parents were in a hurry and actually let Henry take his bottle with him to the car. I buckled Henry into his car seat and I could see the appreciation and love that we shared for life’s celebration… I kissed his beautiful hands as they gripped his bottle and then they were pulling out of my driveway.
And I remembered. THAT’S MY ONE AND ONLY BOTTLE. They had tricked me. They had tricked both a senior citizen AND a toddler by letting Henry take his bottle home. No remorse. And we all knew what that meant. No more bottles.
This morning, as I was pouring myself a cup of coffee, I thought about Henry and his beloved bottle and I remembered that Audrey had a bottle until she was 2 and a half years old. That’s 3 months older than Henry. I remember everyone telling me that she was too old for a bottle… and I even asked her pediatrician, who was a kind, older gentleman… and him saying to me… “I’ve never seen a child enter Kindergarten with a bottle, so don’t worry about it”… and I wanted to call Audrey this morning and tell her this… but I didn’t… because the bottle thing is their parenting decision.
And, this morning, I did look at the coffee cup I was pouring my coffee into and realized that I LOVE this cup. I love the size, the shape, the lip, the design, the way it feels in my hands. In fact, I have 4 identical cups so I’ll always have one available… and I actually have the exact same style, but in different designs, for Fall, Winter and Spring. I have been searching for exact Summer-design cups for quite some time now. Because I LOVE the feel, the essence, the comfort of this particular cup in my hands. And I LOVE the feeling of bringing out the new-season cups and storing the out-of-season ones for another day…
I get it, Henry. I get it. I know the feeling and the celebration and the comfort of a perfect drinking vessel.
So what’s missing from my kitchen cabinet? Yes, Henry’s bottle. The question is: Should I defy the parents and go pick up a new bottle today? Oh, the sheer thought of it is, well… like singing a silent Hallelujah in my head!