I thought I’d share a few family holiday moments as we ease our way between Christmas and New Year; my grandson flying his girlfriend all the way from Washington State to meet me the current highlight. She’s a beautiful girl, intelligent, independent and with a sense of purpose, her educational curriculum set to become a marine biologist. But her highest recommendation in my eyes? She takes no crap from my grandson! His shooting me a what-the-hey look when I landed firmly in her camp on an issue needed explanation. This family’s shortfall when it comes to producing females (he has four brothers, no sisters), means I’m so happy to have a worthy example of womanhood brought into the family that of course I’m taking her side. Probably on everything!
She looks like a cover model–without the rotten diva personality–and shares a personal connection with me. Wonder of wonders, she hunts! I’m talking deer, elk, moose and mountain sheep, the whole nine yards! My oldest daughter (whom I love) has unfortunate Barbie tendencies, and while the youngest daughter loves venison and other wild meats and shoots like Annie Oakley, she refuses hunt. People, do you know how long I’ve waited for a female kindred spirit to hike and hunt with? Brianna was so worth the wait! She rides competitive rodeo (Sadie will approve of that!), she’s involved in her community (Arabella and Jillian, take note), explores Indian grounds with respect for the culture’s history and the environment (Rita Bay!), travels to interesting places (Lizbeth!) and loves Paranormal books (Gothicdweller!). She’s into photography, shoots and fishes. Did I mention I’m taking her side?
We visited the Gulf where I insisted they stick their fingers in the water. I want my great-grandbaby to retain a connection here, even if it’s subliminal.
The guys? Other than their size, they don’t change. My boys are into sports and very competitive. So competitive we even had a fist fight break out. What a wake-up call for me! I used to simply plant a hand on each forehead, holding them separated until tempers cooled or they wore themselves out swinging. This time I found myself in the disconcerting position of my arms wrapped around a middle, and using my feet and legs to hold off the other one. I’m not small, yet still wound up squashed into a mid-air pretzel between them. (I won’t be trying that again. Too damn old. It’s easier to just mop up the blood when they’re finished.)
Pop closed in to break it up on the run, a hollered warning as he sped our way. “If you boys hurt Mawmaw there won’t be anyone to cook!”
They jumped apart. So fast I fell to the ground with a thud. I lay there in the sudden silence blinking up at them. You know what? It doesn’t matter they’ve grown to over six feet and weigh two hundred plus pounds; their eyes forever retain that rounded Oh-crap-we’re-in-trouble-now look. I rolled to an elbow and gained my feet without a word, gathered my shredded dignity, and stomped to the house. But, Hubby informed me later, snorting with laughter so that I barely understood him as he recounted his recollection of the incident, I lost visual points. It seems shedding a flurry of dried up pecan leaves with each furious step lends one a comic appearance, no matter how regal your exit.
My youngest daughter summed another situation the best. “Give up, Mom. As long as you have kids and grandkids, you’ll never have nice sh*t.” That was in reference to my dining table. I’d had it less than a week when the oldest g-daughter visited at the age of four. She hurled a heavy Marine Corps issue ship’s coin with enough force to put a major dent in the wood. A year later, one of the boys balanced a lit punk on the edge while they dug through the bag of fireworks. And promptly forgot it. It burned a trench in the table top. This year we made pine cone turkeys. One of the g-kids lavished theirs with glue and glitter, some of which ended up on the table.
An older g-son waved frantically from the hall, motioning for me. Busy, I demanded, “What?” He just waved harder. We kept it up our “What?” and wave exchange a full five minutes before I gave up and went to him. “Think you need to go in there and check on Kirsten,” he muttered, jerking his head toward the dining table. “Why?” I demanded. He pulled a face, his answer meaningful in its inflection. “Leah says she’s getting the glitter off the table.” Just as I’m wondering why that requires my attention, a dull scrape-scrape-scrape sound registers. I scramble for the other room.
Kirsten is getting the dried glitter and glue off the table all right. With the edge of a pair of scissors. Along with the finish, the stain and a shallow layer of the wood. Too late I show Kirsten how a sponge and water remove leftover craft deposits. I can’t stay mad. Not when tragically wailed, “I was jus’ tryin’ to get it off for you, Mawmaw!” is accompanied by that five-year-old’s tear-filled brown eyes. Sigh. I now have a cluster of light-colored trenches added to the other damage. I fear Rachel is right. I’m never going to have nice things.
But I do have noise and laughter and squeals of delight. I break up fights and praise accomplishments. I watch tears from scraped knees turn to smiles when kisses and Neosporin are applied. I watch mountains of food disappear, eaten with relish. (And yes, when feeding that ravenous bunch I’ve counted my fingers a time or two to make sure they were all still there!) I have smoky clothes to wash after midnight bonfires, and I use warm wash cloths to clean sticky fingers of marshmallow while sleepy heads rest on their daddies’ shoulders.
Who needs nice sh*t? I have a table that carries the proof they like it here enough to come back over and over again. I couldn’t ask for anything better!
Keep writing, everyone! I’ll see you next year!