My friend, Maureen, is the perfect grandmother. She’s all about broadening the horizons of her grandchildren. Ben got to take fencing lessons. Colin and Alex accompanied her to the Caribbean. Marina went with her to California where she got to fly a small airplane.
I’ve heard enough to know that she is the kind of grandma that I want to be. So, I plunked down the $100 for Aaron, 11, and Nicholas, 7, to play Little League baseball this summer. I don’t know how the poor kids can pay to play. I thought the cost was pretty pricey.
“What does that pay for?” I asked, since I know a local philanthropist donated the complex before he died. The coaches and others volunteer their time for the upkeep/maintenance. Sponsors for the teams pay a couple of hundred dollars, which pays for hats and shirts for the teams. Parents buy the ball pants, gloves, and shoes/cleats. So what is the fee paid for sign-up used for? Field upkeep, uniforms (I mentioned those shirts already), upkeep of the field, and so on, the guy said. Uh, the answer wasn’t really any answer at all. “That’s what I thought the sponsor fee was for. What about the kids who want to play but can’t because their families can’t afford it? Oh…uh…No answer.
But I wanted the boys to play. Aaron played last summer and we all had a blast going to the games and watching the kids play. And there are good reasons for the kids to play and learn about being part of a team. So, I put down the money for them to play.
When Aaron celebrates his birthday in late January, I’m usually somewhere between Ohio and Florida, so when I return from my holiday at the beach, Aaron and I make a date for dinner and a movie as our little celebration of his birthday. It’s my birthday gift to him, special time for just the two of us. It’ll be a tradition for as long as I do this January Jaunt to Florida.
This year we took Nicholas, his younger cousin, with us. It just seemed like they would enjoy the time together, and they did. They giggled in the backseat of the car, chattered over dinner at a fast food hamburger place of their choosing, scrambling through the maze in the kids’ area of the restaurant and working up a sweat. Then we went to the cinema to watch The Last Mizzy.
We entered the theater. The boys assumed we were there WAY early, but when I looked at the clock it was only eight minutes until the show started. It cost $18.50 for the three of us to watch the movie. We had the place to ourselves. The owner was the only other viewer…and a teenage boy was somewhere on the premises. We all left at the same time. And I was puzzled about that.
The important thing, though, was that we were together creating a memory…or two or five or so. And we still got back, the boys delivered to their homes and parents and the car back home before it turned into a pumpkin and Grandpa could go to work.
It’s not how much we spend on our activities. It’s that we care enough to spend time with these children who need to be connected to people who emphasize the positives of life and encourage them to be who they are—wonderful people; to be with someone who will talk and play and share with them. And that is what I’m trying to be with our grandchildren. I want them to be self-confident and honorable, to be a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem, to help make the world a better place. I want them to try a lot of good things so they know about life—the world beyond their own backyard.
So, I’m doing the grandma thing, hopefully with class and style. And one day the grandchildren will laugh together about all the things they did with their “kewl” grandma. And how cool is that?