We went to my parents for dinner last night. I love going there. Not only do they ask me to do nothing more strenuous than sit and turn the pages of the latest LLBean catalog...they feed me and my offspring too. And speaking of LLBean, my parents seem to get an inordinate number of catalogs from them. They get the Home, Children's, Summer/Fall/Spring, Gifts, Women, as well as the regular all purpose everything catalog. Can't they just send out one catalog with everything in it? You know, like Sears used to? Anywho...back to me being pampered and petted. I sit at the table, or one of the rocking chairs if I'm able, and sip my soda or wine. My Mom or Dad take the kids in hand and that's the last I see of the kids until it's time to eat.
My parent's kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It's a big cluttered room and it's had two rocking chairs in it for as long as I can remember. A big island in the middle of the room has piles of catalogs and magazines and the big calendar we all make sure to read any time we stop in. Everyone writes events down on it and it's one way to know what's going on with everyone. It's warm and cozy despite it's large size. They have the same dishwasher in there since I was a toddler. It doesn't work and I rarely remember it ever being used. You'd think they'd either replace or or just have it taken out but that's not how they roll. My younger sister stuck some kitty stickers on it when she was a toddler and those same stickers are still there. It's one of those places that hasn't changed all that much and you can just sink into it because it's so familiar. Sigh....I could sit there in that kitchen forever.
Where was I...oh, yes...me being spoiled by my parents and them giving me a break from attending to my kiddos. The kids either disappear somewhere into the bowels of the house or my parents are entertaining them with a book or game or little task. They take such delight in the kids too. And it's not just my kids...they're like that with all their grandchildren. Here they are, seventy six years old, raised eleven kids of their own and have twenty one grandchildren, and yet our kids can't fart without my Dad chuckling and remarking to my Mom..."how strong, how smart, how humorous." Every milestone, big and small, is still amazing to them...no matter that they've seen it thirty plus times over. My Dad can hold a baby and study it for hours on end. He sits in his rocking chair, humming and looks into the baby's face. I love this about my parents. They never cease to find the wonderful in our children. My parents have this ability to make every grandchild feel like he or she is the only one they have.
My Mom is always giving my kids little gifts too. They are constantly coming home from my parent's house with odd bits and pieces or little toys or dress up clothes or books. Some to borrow and some they are allowed to keep. My Mother is a consummate thrift store shopper. If you're looking for something, she is the woman to ask to find it. When I was teaching preschool I was looking for an old fashioned hair dryer and not only did she find two, she also called me excitedly to tell me she found an actual chair from a salon and did I want it. She picks up clothing, toys, books and other items all year long. I'll bet she is the only 76 year old woman who buys up all the star wars and superheroes action figures she can find. Each time we visit, she will disappear upstairs and reappear with some little treasure. Last time we were there the kids came home with some dress up shoes, finger puppets and some small rocket ships.
I like to think she bestows these little gifts because she wants to spoil her grandchildren but I think she has ulterior motives. She and my Dad have been cleaning out their house, barn and carriage house. Now the barn and carriage house are both bigger than most houses and the house is bigger than both. Let me tell you, that gives them tons of room for stuff. And they have crammed stuff into every square inch of space. Jukeboxes, boxes of records, our childhood artwork, trophies, books, furniture of every kind, all compete for space in all three buildings. Cleaning them out is a HUGE job. Every so often my Mom will come across a box or trunk with items that were mine at some point in time and she'll ask me to come take it away. They say they are cleaning house to prepare for their move to a smaller home. I don't like to think about that. I can't imagine not having my "home" to go home to anymore. But honestly, they have so much stuff to sift through it could take them close to twenty years before they're ready to move. Which is just fine by me.
However, back to my Mom and her ulterior motives for giving my kids these little doodads and finery. I think it is her way of getting back at me for helping to fill her house up with junk all the years I lived at home. Little by little she is trying to fill my house up with the same manner of junk we filled her house with. Many days I think she's succeeding. Thanks a lot Mom.