It seems like the carpet guys had just finished putting down that new floor cover when son John came up on the porch and started through the front door, blood dripping from every pore! I caught him just in time to block his entry and told him “Bleed on the porch; I’ll be right back!” It was record speed between the door and kitchen where I grabbed a dish towel (remember dish towels?), wet it under the faucet and made it back to my sobbing child. As it turned out, he’d just scraped a knee or something totally minor in the grand scheme of things, but MAJOR when you’re 4 or 5 years old. And he’s never, not to this day, let me forget that I made him stand outside to bleed. I may have won the “Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow” award in high school, but I wasn’t a prize-winning mom!
If they’d come with instructions, I’m sure both of my children would have fared better, but absent any direction other than what I remembered my mom doing, Chris and John got pot luck in any parenting on my part. You have to do a few pot luck meals before you catch on, but most feature one main dish and 23 bowls of potato salad. With being the mom, it’s ONE huge success amid 23 colossal disasters. Ol’ Cince Parming, father of these two hapless offspring, was home so seldom that anything he did was a win. Just showing up in time for dinner was a win. It was a rare occasion when he made it to watch a gymnastics meet or a baseball game, but it put him right up there with Ward Cleaver (and, of course, you DO remember Leave It to Beaver).
I wasn’t guilty of total, abject failure. I never forgot a birthday, never forgot how much the Tooth Fairy was paying or when it should appear, and never forgot a school play or party or field trip. There were times when lunches fell short of what “all the other kids got to eat,” but the lunchbox always came home empty. I suspect some of the neighborhood dogs were five-pounds heavier at the end of the school year.
Kids today don’t near appreciate that their schools, even elementary schools, all have cafeterias where they can have a somewhat-hot lunch every day. I went to Bill Metz Elementary School to have lunch with my great-grandson, Jacob (he’s now 16), a few times. Thereafter, I’d let him know Grandma would be bringing sack lunch for two when we made a “lunch date.” “Institutional” food barely qualifies as “edible” and the schools are no different. Despite what I’ve read, you cannot convince me that children don’t need milk to build strong bones, and the 1 percent milk passed out with the school lunch isn’t “real milk.”
In our enthusiasm for providing the “healthy meals” recommended by Michelle Obama, we forgot that her children ate whatever fare was provided in private schools, and I can guarantee it wasn’t what Jacob got at Bill Metz! I sorrow for my granddaughter, Jordyn, who will never know the pleasure of a peanut butter sandwich because she’s allergic to nuts, but equally I wonder if most of our “first children” have ever had such mundane fare. Even Patience, the Picky Eater, will turn her nose up at peanut butter since she “discovered” Nutella. Which I diligently forget to buy.
I’m a much better grandma to Jordyn than I was with Zander and Torrey, possibly because Jordyn lives most of the way across the country from Monte Vista, but I can honestly say, I am a whiz-bang great-grandma! Patience would have moments of disagreement, but the others just know I’m the best thing since sliced bread. And smart, too! I tell them often enough.