It is a change from our 'normal' lives as we spend a few days helping our son with shuttles and projects for his three boys. Gene is a fantastic Grandpa with these guys. He knows enough of their routines and habits to feel comfortable with them. A few years back he spent several weeks in the spring and again in the fall doing this type of help. Gene, also, has a grasp of how Son prefers things to be done. About the only thing I add to the mix is science projects, cinnamon rolls and frowns at fighting boys in the hope of avoiding spilled blood.
I hear lots of folks say how things are so different from 'back when'. Yes, there is lots of technology, blended families and more activities than one can shake a stick at some days. I contend that grandparenting in a changing world is not new. My Granny Chandler was born in the hills of Tennessee in February of 1882, seventeen years after the Civil war. She had several brothers and sisters. Her father died while most of the children were just that, children. Granny worked at the local canning factory to help support the family. One of the brothers moved to Texas with the remaining family following by train a few years later. Best I can figure an uncle, a brother of their father, had moved to Texas before all this part of the family likewise migrated.
Most of this clan named Mantooth then decided Oklahoma held more promise. Uncles Ralph and Charley along with sisters Aunts Ailey and Laura took their mother and settled in the area around McAllister, OK. My mother fondly remembers Grandma Mantooth coming to visit with her and her siblings. The trip would be by train with a return trip including my Granny Chandler and the four children. Special treats of fresh oranges and chewing gum were real extravagances for the children.
My Granny Chandler lived through the final years of reconstruction from the Civil War in the south to the Wright brothers first flight. Radio transmission began when Granny was only five years old. She witnessed via television several men speaking to earth while orbiting this blue planet. She was alive as unmanned rockets and equipment landed on the moon. Granny died just months before the 'giant leap for mankind.'
During the years Granny was, well, 'grandmothering' she hugged and kissed all us girls and boy. There was only one surviving grandson for Granny. Granny cooked and cleaned Uncle Clay's place and visited my mom's home most weekends. She cook lunch for my younger sister and I on Monday's when she stayed an extra day during the school year. Aunt Opal's and Uncle Bud's families were visited for a couple of weeks each summer. When she was at our home, she would come to my room on Saturday morning around 7:30 and asked if I was going to sleep my life away. The best part of Granny's visits no matter what our age were her home made hot rolls. Never any better, no where, no how, 'cause these has my Granny's love in them.
Granny had a stroke right after Christmas in 1968. While being treated for this at Dr. Charley and his brothers' Wysong hospital she crawled out of bed. Not just out of bed but over the rail and fell breaking her hip. Surgery was done by the good doctors but Granny never walked again. The first night my two older sisters and I stayed by her bed. She would not respond when we called her Granny.
As we held her hands that night she was making movements on our fingers. Finally we realized Granny was back in another time shelling beans. Taking a cue from the 'bean shelling' we called out the name her family had used for her, Maggie. She was responsive. Using a similar technique, when we needed her to spit out the phlegm from her lungs, we told her to spit out her snuff. Maggie puckered up those same sweet lips that once kissed us and expelled the phlegm into the waiting receptacle.
Granny had to live out her remaining days in hospitals and nursing homes. Those days were short as we buried her on her 87th birthday in February, 1969. Granny lives in my heart and head every day. Especially when I am on grandparent duty. WWGD, what would Granny do keeps me from trying to be a parent. I will admit that I did purposely let Oldest sleep as late as he wished today. Maybe tomorrow while he and Grandpa work on a desk project there may need to be a batch of cinnamon rolls made in just the right size to hold just the right amount of icing. Let the world change being grandparents remains the same, giving time and love. Quiet time is for when there is nothing better to do.