My grandson, Gabriel, now 6 1/2, was born while I was working a long term high stress management job. I retired (and there is a more dramatic word for this, but no need to elaborate here) when he was 4 years old. It never dawned on me what he did or didn’t know about my career until I had mentioned working in a school at one time. He was floored and said, “YOU WORKED?!?” He didn’t remember coming to visit me at the college on the waterfront of Seattle. He didn’t remember when I picked him up, after work, from the apartment where his mom, dad, and he lived. He didn’t even remember that I picked him up from the restaurant where his mom worked.
Realizing he is now of the age to start assimilating what came before he sis, when we were on the way to the zoo recently, I made a point of pointing out a neighborhood I used to live in and the restaurant where his mom used to work, where he was in and out of very frquently. He looked at the outside of the building and asked, “How did I act when I was inside there?” I told him he ran around and under the tables (I picked him up before the restaurant opened for dinner) and he’d visit the chef and line cooks in the kitchen. He seemed satisfied with that little bit of his history.
I think that while racing around in my busy life making new memories, I need to think of our family’s history and what stories I can now start to share with my grand kids (age appropriate, of course).
Speaking of which, yesterday I was interviewed by a friend who now works for a BBC affiliated radio station outside London. The subject was about living in San Francisco during the Sixties and being Janis Joplin’s neighbor. Afterward, Mary-Jane mentioned that I would receive a recording of the interview once it aired. I said how great that will be for my grandchildren to hear about who Grammie was in her younger years, and what experiences I had to share. However, this particular time in my life will be shared when they are much, much older than they are now. Maybe when they turn about 30 they’ll be old enough!
There was a on Facebook of Playland-at-the-Beach videos from the old days in San Francisco. It has long since been demolished with condos and a supermarket built on the site. But what fun it was to play these videos and show Gabriel where I used to play as a kid. The roller coaster, merry-go-round, bumper cars, and more (including the infamous Laughing Sal) that were so much a part of my childhood. He was interested for as long as a 6 year old can be interested in seeing fun things that are intangible.
A trip to Rite-Aid this afternoon was worthwhile as many items I bought were at sale prices. I stocked up on Wet Ones antibacterial wipes in individual packages, pocket size Kleenex, Vitamin C (I will only take C, Echinacea, and B), Pepto Bismol tablets (before Costa Rica last year, I got some booster shots from the Health Dept and the well-traveled nurse told me to take one or two BEFORE a meal to ward off an upset stomach), immodium (in case the Pepto won’t work every time), gauze and tape (small packages), travel size deodorant, floss, moleskin (thanks, Mary!), and a leftover Easter chocolate covered marshmallow on sale.
Then, I rushed out (it’s always when you’re in a hurry that the cashier has trouble with the register) to pick Gabriel up from school (got there in the nick of time), and with snacks ready in the car, we were off to Hobby Lobby (I printed out a 40% off coupon before leaving home) for the fun stuff. One for Gabriel, one for Jordan, and so on. For the flight, Jordan has a new pink sparkly journal (small notebook), fairy stickers, pointed washable felt pens, and a princess coloring book with some dot to dot exercises and mazes included. Gabriel picked up an Iron Man coloring book, felt pens that smell like various fruits, a small plastic skeleton and skull for learning purposes, and a Phineas head Pez holder. Luckily we didn’t have to pay for the Minnie Mouse lawn ornament he accidentally dropped and broke into 4 large pieces which he then went to fess up and tell the floor staff person.
Back to packing….and only 3 days left before the Spain and Portugal trip which will create a whole new set of memories for a 3 1/2 year old. But, will she remember? I think that with reminders via photos and conversations, she will remember, as even now, she still recalls the Capuchin monkey who stole her “pasas” (raisins) out of her hands on the beach in Costa Rica a year ago.
It’s now in the forefront of my mind to remind my grandkids of their history with me, as their grandparent, and slowly tell stories of my life and who i was before they were even a whisper of whom they have come to be.