I just about choked laughing out loud when our eight year old grandson sweetly asked, “How long have we been stuck with you today, Nana?” It had been one of those long days. Our daughter had taken one of their dogs, a ninety-five pound Rottweiler mix, to a trainer who lives sixty minutes or more away from their home. She had loaded him, his collapsible carrier, food, toys, and two muzzles, one smaller than the larger one he was wearing, and left the house around 11:00 AM. That left me to captain the chore details, and get the kid’s bedding washed. No problem.
Our granddaughter helped get the laundry started while the boys headed to their room. Getting them to clean without playing is like telling dogs and cats to put spilled toys back in a basket. Surprisingly, though, the boys tackled the job. Perhaps a bribe for each when they finished, of two chocolate covered cherries brought over earlier by Papa, helped. It only took a few urges to get the chore done.
Sir Google helped us learn that chocolate covered cherries were first crafted in 1929. We calculated the children would be 13, 16 and 19 when the making of chocolate covered cherries turned 100 years old. When you are 5, 8 and 11, those ages seem light-years away. Having chocolate covered cherries during the holidays has been a family tradition for a good long while. My husband, born in the early 1940’s, remembers his father bringing the confections home each Christmas. Perhaps his dad had snacked on chocolate covered cherries when they were first introduced to the world. When Papa asked the children, as they sucked cherry juice from holes in the chocolates, how they liked them, our granddaughter exclaimed, “I love them!” Chocolatey grins from the boys confirmed their approval. I wondered if this younger generation will carry on our family tradition.
When our daughter returned around 5:30 PM, after time with the trainer, then stopping off at work, she was clearly tired from a full day. Her phone rang. “Oh no! The trainer wants me to come back either today or tomorrow to apply the second smaller muzzle.” Her dog was clearly not happy, anxiously trying to pry off the larger muzzle. It would take two to get the large muzzle off, apply the small one, and put the large one back over top so the trainer could work through both muzzles. Our son-in-law unavailable that evening meant the children, already stuck with Nana for seven hours, were going to be stuck with me for a few more. So, with pizza ordered for our dinner, off our daughter drove into the night.
The extra hours with the children were fun. Admittedly tired we all piled on the couch to watch short movies. “Alien TV” was a favorite, about three alien reporters who come to earth, (Paris, France, in fact) to study human interests such as bicycling, camping, gymnastics, and going to the gym. Imagine the little creatures’ assessments and bungled, misunderstood attempts at trying everything out before reporting on these strange human activities. They were hilarious and we were roaring with laughter when the children’s mama finally returned.
Sometimes I feel like the alien when I hang out with the kids. They are, as their mama would say, “Lego and Minecraft” nerds. Add to that Harry Potter, Star Wars, and all kinds of science info shows. They want to tell me about everything, in minute detail, much of which is alien to me. Still I listen and try to be a place of comfort in their lives, learning a thing or two, and hopefully imparting some truth to them as well. If nothing else, we are alien generations growing together. All totaled, our grandchildren were stuck with Nana for ten hours. A happy place in the universe for their Nana to land, especially when the eight year old commented later as an afterthought, or perhaps as reassurance, “I like being stuck with you!”