By Laura Claverie, 1.8.19
Papa and I recently attended our last Grandparents’ Day at St. George’s. To be clear: No one is leaving the school. Amelia is now in the fourth grade, the last year grandparents are invited. Starting next year, we will become radioactive in her fifth-grade eyes.
It seems like yesterday when we proudly walked into Pre-K for the first time. Rylan grabbed our hands and immediately took us to his cubby where we oohed and ahhed over the contents: his mat, lunch bag and matching water bottle.
Two years later, Amelia walked us to her cubby which she announced was the same exact one that her big brother had two years earlier. It was a proud moment for us all.
What makes this significant is that Papa and I have not missed a Parents night, conference or weekend at their far-flung colleges since Philip and Stephanie were at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Nursery School, almost 40 years ago.
Some might call this perfect attendance; others might say it’s neurotic. Both are right.
So what does a grandmother do when she feels she’s being put out to pasture by the school administrators and a prepubescent’s normal need for independence?
I think my longing for more little ones is starting to show.
The other day I was at Rylan’s soccer game at City Park. A young mother walked past us, carrying a tiny infant. I gave the baby a pitiful, lingering stare and let out an audible sigh.
Rylan gave me a serious look and said, “Lollie, I need to tell you a secret. My parents told Amelia and me they want to have another baby.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! This didn’t make sense on a couple of levels: they’d never discuss that in advance with the kids, and the age differences would be really tough on them.
“Rylan, are you sure? There would be a twelve-year age difference between you and the new baby,” I pointed out.
“Yes, see, they think that when Amelia and I go to college, they’ll be lonesome and they’ll want another kid in the house.”
Suddenly, it started to make sense, or at least some off-the-wall wishful thinking. He then told me the names they’ve picked out for the new baby: Emily if it’s a girl, Rocko or Nico for a boy. “Rocko? Nico?” I asked.
“Yeah, Dad got those names from a book he’s reading or something,” he said.
So there I was, totally sucked into the moment. I was levitating with joy, almost giddy and swearing on a stack of Bibles that I wouldn’t breathe a word to anyone. I started thinking about all the baby furniture I’d given away and wondering if I could get any back.
Then he put his hand on my shoulder and said as serious as a heart attack, “Lollie, I have one more thing to tell you. Promise you won’t tell anyone.” Again, I swore to keep my big mouth shut forever. I wouldn’t break that kid’s trust for all the beer at Jazzfest.
“Lollie, everything I told you is a joke! And you believed me!!” he howled with victorious laughter.
I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or tackle him on the field. I’d long forgotten how gullible I am around my grandchildren.
Days later–and only two hours after Papa and I left our last Grandparents’ Day–we returned to St. George’s to see Rylan compete in the finals of the Cottonwood Oratory contest, where he stood on the stage in front of the entire middle school and dozens of parents and grandparents.
There on the stage, he expounded for five minutes, looking poised, confident and articulate. He owned the auditorium. I thought: this kid could argue a case in the U.S. Supreme Court and win.
Especially if the Judges have grandkids.
Laura Claverie is a local mom, grandmother and writer. Laura is the Hip Grannie.
Keep up with Laura by reading her latest article, “Grandparents offer Grandkids no limits on love!“