With a total of seven of them to this point, we might consider it a full quiver. God only knows whether or not any more are in the offing. By Putnam County standards, such a modest accumulation of grandkids measures barely a drop in the bucket, but as many know, we are not originally from here and are doing the best we can.
One added bonus is that all seven reside within an hour and a half drive or less.
Given their respective proximity and coupled with the most recent Christmas holidays, we were afforded a measurable quantity of quality time with our cherished collection, ranging in age from almost 1 year to nearly 9.
Any baby books of our own to chronicle memories of old are gathering dust in a plastic tub in some closet, packed in a cardboard box overhead in the attic or irretrievably buried somewhere unbeknownst to mama and me.
Before memories dwindle any further these days, permit me to inscribe more indelibly some beloved highlights of our third generation of kin.
Four of the seven joined us this year for the annual selection, chopping down and decorating of the family Christmas tree from Kaleidoscope Farms in Mt. Cory. Collectively they paid little regard as to whether the tree was more akin to Charlie Brown’s or one worthy of Rockefeller Plaza. More important was getting a ride on the horse-drawn wagon, petting the donkey and reindeer and, most of all, getting a huge cookie from the gift shop.
Once set up in our living room, each had a hand in placing ornaments anywhere and everywhere. Their only concern was that the candy canes were within arms’ reach for later snacking.
Pancakes are always first tested by sticking fingers into the batter multiple times and having a taste. And speaking of flapjacks, they are virtually inedible unless they are drowned with whipped cream. Any butter and maple syrup are optional.
French fries, mac and cheese and pizza, just about everything edible, seems to go down better dipped in ketchup or ranch dressing.
They don’t mind watching a movie on the couch before bedtime, but what they really like is watching it nestled in our bed. When that happens, my wife and I can “snack” on popcorn throughout the night when it’s our turn.
Christmas gifts under the tree need to be strategically rearranged multiple times prior to opening, ensuring an expedited distribution, preferably in their direction first.
Promise any monetary incentive, and they will pick up just about anything in our yard, be it pine cones, downed sticks and branches, and yes, even monstrous piles of dog dirt. Is there any better way to begin funding their college education?
Animal lovers at heart, they will chase, attempt to ride, feed, throw popcorn at, feed biscuits to, play tuck-of-war with, chase some more and sneak food from the kitchen table to our dog, Starbucks, so much so that she asks us to put up the gate to give her a chance to catch her breath.
We’ve observed this distinct measurable developmental progression. Over time they will advance from an undaunted fascination with wrapping paper, ribbons and bows to infatuation with the packaging and boxes, to one day enjoy the actual Christmas gifts themselves.
They find it a grand adventure to experience “camping” while sleeping in a tent, set up in our walk-in closet, nestled in sleeping bags.
Finally, when grandma and grandpa have reached their limits and the grandkids are giggling uncontrollably in their closet campsite, they’ve yet to realize that the grand prize for winning the “quiet game” isn’t for them at all. Sleep tight everyone!
Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org