The Need For Renewable Grandparent Energy

Carol and I have been assigned grand-parenting duties for this week and next as our daughter goes back to her school and 3rd Grade classroom. Those old Geritol commercials from Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour now seem relevant. We need energy packs. Not Red Bull energy, mind you, but just something to get us over the hump…er, humps! Like at 9, 11, and 1.

By 2:00 we’re into the downhill coast, guilt for laying on the couch has long since become a scene in the rearview mirror. By then we give a grandparent edict, proclaiming a mandatory 30 minute quiet time. It’s like receiving a gift of chocolate mousse cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.

But if this was a track meet and our 5, 9, and 12 year old grandkids were in lanes 1,2, and 3, the grandparents occupying lanes 4 and 5 would be smoked!

My venti-sized cup of Starbucks Pike Place get me through the first laps off the morning. I feel sharp and witty and maybe to play with their new kitten, Leo. Fixing bagels and cream cheese for their breakfast is non-taxing.

About 9:30, however, the first squabble of the day occurs over any one of a variety of issues: hair ties, the unjust decision of not letting one of them have ice cream, the life threatening restriction on their use of technology (Read video games!), and mediating the conflict over a 12 year old boy not wanting to play Barbie’s with his 5 year old sister.

It’s like working at the Customer Service/Returns counter at Walmart, every return or request presenting the possibility of unhappy consumers and bad Yelp reviews.

Carol and I feel the drain, brain drain and senior citizen slowness. It’s why some restaurants have senior menus. They know it takes us longer to raise the fork from the plate all the way to our lips, and so they scale down the sizes to allow multi-generational families to all get done with their meals at the same time. (I guess that sounded like one of those conspiracy theories, didn’t it?)

And then there’s Kid’s Bop on satellite radio! By the time we pull into the driveway or whatever we’re going, my hearing has been numbed and the hair on my arms is standing up as a result of the constant high-pitched shrieking voices singing song after song that all sound the same. By the time I exit the car I’m longing to hear a voice like Tennessee Ernie Ford or George Beverly Shea, nice and soothingly deep. Of course, both of those have passed on to the place where there are no more squeals and the music is always angelic.

I’d better close now since my heating pad needs to be warmed up again, and I need to visit the bathroom for about the twentieth time today.

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