thanks to the grandparents…

nina & the kids

As some of you know, I work part-time for a local college in their writing center tutoring students in writing. Well, this last weekend five of us traveled to another university for a writing center conference where we each presented a paper/topic. (This might explain why my posts have been so sporadic and potentially half-hearted as of late: my mind has been otherwise preoccupied.) My mom graciously offered to watch the kids so that Mark could continue working on his novel and I could attempt to impart some wisdom (ideally) to other writing tutors on the value of periods of silence in tutoring. (By the way, my mom did end up hosting the other four tutors, along with my family, for the night when we were delayed by a freak snow storm that left behind 5″- 9″ of snow and horrible traffic, but I’ll tell more about that later.)

Well, while I was gone, Mom and Dad decided to take the kids out shopping for new shoes; they were a belated birthday gift to Burke, and fortunate for Liam, he shared in the loot, receiving a pair himself. Now, Mark and I are pretty predictable and minimal when it comes to the kids shoes — no blinking, squeaking, TV-character-smothered-plastic-looking shoes. So you can imagine the surprise, laugh, and eventually, slight dismay I had when I returned from my little escapade to the north and watched Liam and Burke run to the car in blinking-plastic-looking-spider-man shoes. What’s even better, they love them, and by that I mean — I have to convince them not to wear them to bed type of love. Mom, somehow knowing she would have to explain this new blinking paraphernalia, told me “I tried to get them the Converse, but they really liked  the spider-man shoes.” Sweet, sweet Nina.

This little scenario led me to thinking about all of the wonderful “treats” and “special experiences” our kids would miss out on without their grandparents, and here’s a few (most of which arrive through the mail, a treat in itself): Little Debbie snacks, any sort of candy or sweetened cereal, a lot of plastic toys (and now, shoes)…etc. But, these “vices,” these infractions to our ritualized lifestyles, contribute to what makes them, the grandparents, so wonderful. We (the parents) are the ones who regulate moderation, but they have the freedom, not to necessarily spoil our kids, but to give them things and do things with them that we can’t, or won’t. So, thanks Nina, Papa, PoPo, JoJo, Nana Pam, and Daddy O for the thoughtfully child-loving ways that you love on our kids and for all the “junk” that transforms to treasure in their little world.

the shoes