One of my last post celebrated leaving the kids in Grandma and Grandpa’s care. I am incredibly thankful for this, as it was only the second time my wife and I were able to get away from the kids since our first born AJ in 2008. Both of our respite-vacations have been provided by Kerry’s parents. Our boys’ grandparents live in Wisconsin, about a 20 hour drive away—a drive we’ve only made twice before. Grandma Diane has a special connection with each of my boys and as someone who lives so far away, it’s hard to do with as busy as we all get. She is now retired but even when she was working, she would write notes to the kids, call them on the phone, and sing songs to them. She still does and it is really something to see them light up when we tell them they’ve gotten another letter or card from their Grandmother. She owns stock in Hallmark.
By the time each of my sons was born, their Grandma and Grandpa had written a song for each of them. Grandma sings whenever she sees them. It explains her obsession with American Idol. The difference is that I like the songs and love that she’s done this for them. It’s helped them learn their names and develop an appreciation for music.
While my wife was still pregnant with AJ, Grandma Diane had written up this beautiful letter and had it framed and to this day, it still remains in the baby’s room just as it did for AJ and Andy. The main theme for this framed treasure is that Grandma says, “I loved you even before you were born.” One amazing thing about Grandma is how willingly she is to show her appreciation and how deeply her love for our kids is in everything she does for them—-even before she knew them.
All throughout the year, she sends them books and magazines after she asks us what each boy is into. Many books are little stories written about the special relationship between a kid and their grandparents but also Spiderman, spiders or bedtime stories. One of the most recent books that AJ received is his Nature Encyclopedia, which he has brought to show and tell and frequently spits out animal, astronomy or geography facts that I never knew. When he was a few years younger, I used to be lucky enough to sometimes nap when he did, but now that he no longer naps neither do I. I find myself learning these facts instead as he has to share with me if his little brothers are napping. One of the reasons our boys loves books so much is because Grandma and Grandpa send them so many to meet their ever changing interests. For example, a couple months ago, we were all about Batman, when the past month, it’s been all about Spiderman. It’s hard to keep up with, but Grandma seems to do just fine.
It seems nearly impossible to maintain the relationship that their Grandma has with them. She talks with them on the phone when frankly as their father, I have a difficult time doing. She sings to the baby by phone and listens patiently while Andy takes the phone around the house showing her his new toys even though she cannot see them. He knows she’s on the phone so she must be able to see what he sees, right?
Grandma gets teary-eyed on every arrival and when it’s time to say good-bye. We are lucky enough that we can arrange travel to see them in NC, FL and WI and their retirement allows Grandma and Grandpa the time to come and visit. It breaks our hearts to see her so sad when she leaves, but it shows us just how deeply she cares about our family. I know how much she misses us, but it must warm her heart to know how close of a relationship she has with all of us.
I’ve said it before but I am one of the lucky few who love the visit from the in-laws, especially when it allows us a break like when we flew to Denver or San Diego. I never imagined we would be able to travel as much as we do and we owe that to Grampa Bay and Grandma Flutter. Grandpa Bay derived from a “Tampa Bay” cheer when AJ was young. Grandma Flutter came from “The Bear in the Big Blue House” song about a little mouse trying to tell his Grandma how much he loves her. It is a special song that Grandma and the kids share. Take a listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j4CgqSQMeM&noredirect=1
This is such an important relationship between my boys and their Grandmother. It is just as important as between my wife and her Mom. For AJ, Andy and Jamie to see their mother appreciate her mother it reinforces how important family is. I’m not sure if many of you know this or not, but Kerry’s Mom and my Mom have the same names, both first and middle= Diane Margaret. We actually were going to honor both our moms and name our daughter “Diane” but we never had an opportunity to have a daughter—-just three beautiful boys and we are officially out of the baby-making business. (It also so happens that the “anne” in Diane would also honor Kerry’s good friend/mentor Anne.) Even though miles separate us, the visits whether from their Grandparents or visits to Florida to see their cousins will always be important and help us instill family values.
Thank you Grandma Flutter for helping us to build a strong sense of family. You and Grandpa Bay’s bond with the boys is something we deeply value.
It’s been a while since my last post given it is birthday season at our house. Today is Andy’s 3rd birthday, AJ turned 5 last month and Jamie, 1 in January. We had a big 5th birthday party for AJ at Rose’s Gymnastics and small gatherings at the house for his brothers. AJ has a new obsession for the Wii as he loves his new game, Skylander Giants.
We had more snow here than we’ve ever seen. Not much but enough for me to take AJ sledding, we would have taken his brothers, but they were sick at the time and only got to experience it by watching Mom and Dad build a snow man through the window. Like their parents, our boys love the snow. We learned of new techniques to help it snow, the boys flush ice down the toilet, sleep with their pajamas inside out and sleep with spoons under their pillows in hopes of making it snow. We’ve had a very cold Winter (for Eastern NC) and don’t want it to end so all their jammies are inside out, the toilet is very cold and we can’t find any spoons in the kitchen.
Happy Birthday Andy-Roo!!