So I’m hoping I’m not the “boring grandmother.”
My machatenista (Yiddish, your child’s mother-in-law) has three boys and, reliving a happy part of their youth, and hers, loudly cheers on our grandsons at their Little League games.
I couldn’t stand going to those games even when my sons played. It was hot, buggy, the kids looked miserable, and there was always at least one idiot father who acted like a 3-year-old, having a tantrum if the kids failed to live up to his expectations or the ref made a call he didn’t like.
My machatenista is also an amusement park enthusiast. No roller coaster is too high or fast for her. She’s fun.
I like books and have read my way through many a family vacation as my husband led our kids from one ride to the next.
A few years ago, my husband and I took our oldest grandsons to Disney World with instructions from my daughter to get her more timid son on Splash Mountain. I hate Splash Mountain. It even looks stupid.
(A generation ago, my youngest, then 6-year-old son shamed me into going on Space Mountain with the rest of the family. I thought I was going to die. Worse, I thought we’d all die.)
So, while my husband sits with the grandson who puts his hands in the air and laughs in delight as the roller coaster plunges, I take this other kid on Splash Mountain. Seriously, I am white-knuckled during the whole ride which lasts two full, long hours. I keep my eyes closed and concentrate on not tossing my cookies.
When we got off the ride, my knees were shaking. My grandson, bless him, said, “Savta, I am really mad at you. I did not want to go on that ride!” I replied, “A., I’m not so happy with you either. Mommy made me go on that ride for you!” We smiled (reluctantly) and held hands, solemnly promising each other that we would not go on those kinds of rides again.
We loved “It’s a Small World.”
Last week, I had a great day with my boys. I took them to the Museum of Modern Art and then to a movie. We had gone to that museum and to the Met before, as I start to take my grandchildren to the museum when they are 3 years old. This exhibit didn’t really engage them so we left after about 45 minutes. Previously, we lasted up to one and a half hours. The minute they get a little antsy, it is my policy to leave.
I am modeling myself on my own Grandma who took me to the great museums of New York from a very early age, giving me a life-long love of art. She was a wonderful guide and knew how to interest me, teaching me how to really look at what I was seeing. True, she wasn’t as much fun as my grandfather who regularly took us to the toy store, but I did love being with her and it is she who really gave me the lasting gift.
Each year for their birthday, I take the boys to a Broadway show. I have taken them to a ballet and plan on taking them to the opera as soon as I think they can sit through a child’s-length version of the Met Opera’s “Magic Flute.”
So maybe I am the “boring grandmother.”
But I’m hoping that one day, they will appreciate their early exposure to the arts and will think of me as the interesting, “culture” grandmother. I hope that, when they are bigger, this investment in expanding their world will pay off.
Next week they’re going with their other grandparents to an amusement park where you play sports while bouncing on trampolines.
Great. I really am the “boring grandmother.”