i have never liked new year's eve.
staying up til midnight?? ugh... no thanks... it's always been something i have begrudgingly celebrated and always insisted on either celebrating at home or very close to home (like, next door).
or not celebrating at all. there was a year when i was freelancing and i was working on an online store migration, and new year's eve seemed like a good time to pull the trigger (no one shopping for coffee online... right?) spoiler alert: it wasn't... but that's a boring story about making the internet and ... no thanks...
but, talula, this new year's eve was actually fun. the first two new years since you left were uneventful, but now that the divorce with emily is almost final and i've got my new place pretty much setup, i am feeling good and was able to relax and enjoy time with my family. we played my nintendo sports bowling, we all brought waaaaaay too much food, ate waaaaay too much food, watched the ball drop and ended stayed up til 2am. that's right, talula, i hang out with some reeeal party animals these days... yup, my parents, my aunt, her best friend and her best friend's mom who will be 90 next week... all bowling champs and funny as hell.
my aunt and i spent the night.
new year's morning at breakfast, we were talking about how cute my two nieces have been lately. my parents watch them twice a week and were telling us about taking the girls shopping last week. the two-and-a-half-year-old was at target, pointed to something, said "i want that" and so my parents said "ok!" and bought it. my brother had complained to them that he had taken her to target and she did the same thing, and then melted down when he said "no, you got enough toys for christmas". my parents told him "well, we're the grandparents, so when we go shopping and our granddaughter wants something, we can say 'ok!' and get it for her. you don't have to because you're the parent, but we're the grandparents and that's what we do. that's the kind of grandparents we are!"
i said "i didn't have those kind of grandparents." and dad and aunt diane laughed and agreed. dad said "no, not our parents. but they didn't buy anything for us, either. if we wanted something, we had to earn the money and get it ourselves. i remember buying myself a bike with money from my paper route." aunt diane told us how dad was the only one in the family who didn't try to wiggle his way out of his work. while other siblings would have made her do the dirty work of collecting the money for the subscription, he never did. my dad has been an honest, hard-working guy his whole life, even if it cost him money, like his paper route did.
mom said her mother would have been that kind of grandparent if we didn't live two hours away and she had the chance to take us shopping more.
so i started thinking...
what kind of grandparents did i have?
talula, you only knew them when they were in their 80s, but you missed their active grandparenting years. no, i did not have the kind that took me shopping and bought me whatever i wanted.
i had the kind of grandparents that were there; that showed up. the kind that helped my parents get things done. the kind that could be relied upon.
the kind of grandpa who went out of his way to pick me up and bring me home for our church choir practices. who would pick me up and bring me home from after-school rehearsals three days a week. who instilled a love of creating visual and musical art, preserving history and nurturing plants.
the kind of grandmother who came to our house every week and spent the day helping my mom with laundry, making sure my dad had freshly pressed shirts for work. who would make us amazing home-cooked meals, like tomato sauce with the most delicious meatballs imaginable. who instilled a love of cooking, of preparing and sharing a meal with your family.
the kind of cool, independent, single grandma who would travel by ferry on her own just to see me in whatever school concert, play, church event, anything and everything i was in – if i was on stage, she was guaranteed to be in the audience. who would have a pillow fight with you on vacation and sit with you when you were too scared to go on a rollercoaster*.
those were the grandparents i had. the kind who showed their love through time and energy.
which is also the kind of grandparents that my parents are, but to the n-th degree. they are so full of love for these girls and cherish every moment they have with them to the bottom of their hearts. so, these beautiful little nieces of mine get to have both.
it's going to be a good year, talula, i can feel it...
* but not a haunted house... nope, scared of the haunted house? doesn't matter... still have to go on that ride... and will have to hear about it the rest of your life... about how funny it was that you just learned to read, so you kept pointing at the exit signs, saying "i want to exit"... nope, not the kind of grandmother who would deprive your family of that story...