We’ve been hearing disturbing warnings from grandparents who are further down the pike than we are. They say, “Enjoy those grands while they’re little. Once they’re older, they won’t have time for you.”
We find such proclamations troubling. We’re hoping it’s fake news. Still, we can’t help but wonder.
We are cutting and gluing construction paper at the kitchen table when I casually ask a 7-year-old grand next to me if she’ll still come see us when she is older.
She looks at me, looks at the pink paper flower I have cut to her specifications, and softly says, “Maybe.”
There is a slight lilt to her voice that indicates we might still be on her radar, but it is also clear that she isn’t going to commit and wants to keep her options open.
Just kidding. She’s precious.
If keeping her and the rest of them coming around means we’re still having water balloon fights outside, playing chase and doing cartwheels decades from now, so be it. Neither of us can do a cartwheel now, but maybe it’s time we limber up.
Our standing in the polls with the grands is extremely high at this stage of the game and that is a concern. Such levels of popularity are hard to sustain.
“We need a strategy,” I tell the husband.
“What’s the rush?” he asks. “We’ve got a few more good years.”
He’s probably right. There are 11 grands; the oldest is 10 and the youngest two just turned one.
“They’re not going anywhere soon,” the husband says. “Not only can none of them drive, but a lot of them are still in car seats.”
“Yes!” I yell, pumping my fist in the air.
“Plus, none of them have any income,” he says. “We’re still their ace in the hole for pizza, ice cream and donuts.”
“We may be good now,” I say, “but I doubt any of them will think fun is standing on a chair next to me at the kitchen sink, drying dishes when they’re 15.”
“When they’re older, we’ll do older kid things,” he says. “You know, take them to a monster truck show.”
“Those things are awfully loud,” I say.
“It won’t matter,” he says. “By the time the youngest ones are in their teens neither of us will have much hearing left anyway.”
“You realize your days are numbered for that game where they sneak up on you and comb your hair all crazy, right?” I ask.
“Moot point,” he says. “In another few years, my hair may be gone.”
“When they’re older, they’re not going to think it’s a big deal to drop pennies into that big 5-gallon glass jar you have,” I say. “What then?”
“If we pass them a few bills and tell them they can keep them, we’ll be fine. And then they can take us out for pizza and ice cream.”
I am once again feeling optimistic.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at email@example.com.