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The Other Side

Grandparents were a big part of my life and I count myself better for them. My only regret is in not realizing how  much I revered and appreciated my grandmother.


Mostly I remember visiting them at their home, though they were active and did many things with relatives whose lives were geared toward country outings to fish, camp, rockhound, and travel.


They had easychairs, a television, and their hobbies. Grandma crocheted. Together they both canned and dried food.  Grandpa was a fixit man, specializing in old sewing machines. He was also a rock hound and played a mean game of checkers. Grandma knew things. She was the most complimentary type of bright intellect. She was people wise.


Grandma never drove and as far as I know, never wanted to. According to legend, the fact that Grandpa died of natural causes instead of something related to driving, was something of a miracle. I don’t buy it, but I also don’t recall ever being his passenger.


Today though, I’m thinking of the other side of the grandparent experience.


This weekend my son in law took one of my grandsons camping. The wife and girls stayed behind.


I volunteered to sleep on a cot in the living room so they didn’t have to be alone that night and to my surprise, my daughter accepted the invitation.


Actually, the idea was probably a surprise to all. I am an unapologetic home body and I don’t often volunteer to do anything that will take me away from home and hearth. As a result, my kids who moved far away don’t see me very often. I try, but it’s a struggle to get myself to leave the house. I like it here.


I showed up around sevenish, after dark. The forecast was for weekend sun, but the days had been cold.


The girls had prepared a bed for me so I wouldn’t have to use the couch.


The youngest is a babe in arms and she mostly slept. The three year old scored two photo shoots. The morning shoot was with the famed pink tule dress.


The oldest girl asked me to do a live sketch of her, which finished off her night. She was willing to stick to her bed time, but in what I think was a momentous change of policy her mom admitted that she realized that this girl was of age to merit a later time. I think it was bumped to ten.


I showed her how to verify design imbalances in a portrait by holding it up to a mirror, which will intensify the appearance of any problem.


We laughed and laughed at the ideas that came up in the small talk that comes with portraiture. Then I took some photos so I could have a reference when I made corrections to the sketch after hours.


The girls all three fell asleep so my daughter and I talked till she dropped. They’re early sleepers.

Then I went back to the portrait sketch for finish work.

Their little maltese whimpered somewhere in the house but I couldn’t find her and kept stubbing my toe looking for her in the dark.


The next morning, as when I camp, I was first up.


Unless you count the oldest grand daughter, who was at the kitchen table under a dimmed light designing dresses on a sketch pad.


So I had her all to myself for about an hour and it was delightful. We discussed the ultimate password, dress design, political cartoons, and life.


We were discovered by the three year old in due time, and then by the dog.


Not long after everyone was up, the boys returned from their wilderness adventure.


I did another short photo shoot with the new model.


Then, homebody that I am, I rounded up my stuff and headed home.


By then the chocolates that I’d emptied from my pocket onto the kitchen counter had been discovered and devoured. I’d read several books aloud to appreciative ears. Stories and jokes were shared along with hugs and kisses.


The whole experience was to be treasured. They didn’t even mind the snoring.


I liked having grandparents, but being on the other side and as one  has been altogether a better experience. It was wonderful : )



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