Surviving Grandparents DayAug 30, 2022 02:29PM ● By Ernie Witham
I looked up and met the eyes of an eager and excited young boy.
“Sorry, I can’t play right now, Jack.”
“Because I have some writing to do.”
“It’s for an article.”
“What’s an article?”
“About 600 words.” I laughed. Jack didn’t.
“It’s for a magazine. I have an allotted space to fill.”
“What’s a lotta space to fill?”
“Let’s see how quiet we can be right now. Like a game. The silent game. Okay?”
“Okay,” Jack sighed. “Ernie?...Ernie?...Ernie?”
Our grandson Jack is 4 years old. His parents are having a baby. So for Grandparent’s Day—actually week—he’s staying with us. He’s a fun, joyous, bright, inquisitive, inventive and loving child, and has an energy level that could power a small city.
Jack likes to build stuff. So we have plastic building blocks, gears, wheels, tools and other creative toys for him that tend to end up all over the house.
“Momma! Ernie stepped on my pterodactyl again. What does F$#@&frat&%*# mean?”
When he starts turning all his toys into weaponry and making explosion sounds, my wife and I head outside. He loves to ride his bicycle around our condo complex and he likes it when I run after him.
“Come on, Ernie. Faster!”
“I need (gasp) to rest (wheeze).”
“Momma ran faster this morning.”
Momma had gone to the grocery store for a “few things” more than an hour ago. I’m betting she’s in the parking lot with the seat back, napping.
When we get sweaty from exercise, we head for the pool. Jack has water wings so he can float forever.
“Come on, Ernie. Faster!”
“I need to stop before I sink.”
A few weeks ago, we went camping with Jack and his parents on the eastern side of the state.
“Look at all the ducks and turtles!” Jack said.
“Don’t touch the turtles, okay, Jack?” Momma said.
“Because they are snapping turtles and might bite you.”
“Oh. Ernie, put your finger in the turtle’s mouth. I want to see if he bites you.”
“Tempting, but maybe we should move over near the ducks.”
“Don’t get your feet wet,” Momma told Jack.
“Why do I have to take my shoes off before I get back in the car?”
“Because they smell like duck poo.”
“Duck poo, duck poo, duck poo,” Jack said melodically.
We also went to a museum. Jack loves the “Butterflies Alive” exhibit.
“Remember, Jack. You can’t touch the butterflies,” Momma said.
“Why? Do they bite?”
“No, but they are fragile. See how thin their wings are?”
“Why are their wings thin?”
“Because if they were too heavy, they would just keep falling out of the sky like rocks and crush us all,” I said.
“Like meteors. Then we would have to get laser guns and shoot all the butterflies to save everyone.”
We both made some blasting sounds. Several pair of eyes flashed our way.
Meanwhile, Jack got as close to the butterflies as he could without actually touching them.
“They have weird eyes. Like zombies.”
“I never noticed that before.
“Ernie? Are you done writing yet?”
I looked at the screen. Somehow I had squeaked out enough words for my grandparenting article.
“Yes! What should we do now?”
“Perfect!” I said as I grabbed the first aid kit.