I started writing this on Mother's Day, a holiday dedicated to all the moms in the world. The way it works is that our moms give birth to us, then they do a twenty-year stretch of washing our laundry, saving us from malnutrition, and keeping us from killing or being killed by our siblings.
In return for all that, we set aside one day a year to give them a pancake breakfast, a basket of flowers, and a cheesy card. The amazing thing is, they seem to like it.
So when my son gave us a Mother's Day FaceTime call, the apparent purpose of which was to let our granddaughter, fresh from her bath, flash Nana and Papa a full holiday moon, it was all a normal part of the plan. Then I got to thinking about how all the grandmothers of the the world fit into the lives of kids.
As we Americans work our way through Summer in this great land, a time marked by metric tons of bratwurst, watermelon, beer, and tepid potato salad, our children are facing a terror that most of us adults have blissfully forgotten. This is because we have spent years trying to methodically stamp out all memory of it.
I am, of course, talking about Summer Camp. In case you grew up on one of the moons of Jupiter, Summer Camp is a place your parents send you when they figure it's about time for you to learn how to braid plastic lanyards and cry yourself to sleep.
Now, a lot of things can happen to you that are really great; finding a $20 bill in the pocket of a jacket you haven't worn in a couple of years; your $1 lotto ticket hitting for $100; the Detroit Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup (OK, so not this year); pulling off the road with a groan when the police cruiser lights go on, only to watch him speed right past you to haul down that jerk in the black Escalade who cut you off a couple of miles back; Snickers bars.
But a few events come along in a lifetime that stand so far above all that other stuff that they make the coolest fireworks display that ever rumbled your chest and made your heart pound seem like a complete waste of time. Having a grandchild is one of those events.
My son emailed me a picture of himself sitting on the bed, looking down at his new little daughter, who was lying on his lap all swaddled in pink and looking right back up at the biggest, most important man she will ever know. I smiled when I saw it and typed a reply to him: