Monday, September 12, 2011


Here in the U.S., Grandparents Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in September.  This year it unfortunately coincided with the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  I purposely didn't write a blog post about September 11th, my own experience of seeing it unfold on television while at home with my small son mirrors the experiences of so many others.  That's not to say it wasn't on my mind.  For anybody over the age of 17, it's a profound, lifelong memory.  On the way to Grandma's yesterday, I mentioned to the kids that it was the anniversary.  The Professor said, "Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot about that."  (He was a mere two years old on the day and remembers nothing first-hand.)  Then he thought for a minute and said, "But it's also Grandparents Day.  Shouldn't we try to forget about 9/11 and just focus on Grandma?"  He was right.  Never should the people who died on 9/11 be forgotten.  At the same time, though, the biggest lesson I came away with that day was you never know what's gonna hit you tomorrow.  Try to enjoy today.

With that attitude, we had a steak lunch at Grandma's, followed by a rich chocolate chess pie.  We then presented the gifts.  Since her birthday is at the end of September, we keep the Grandparents Day gifts small.  (In my family, any occasion tends to be used as an excuse to give elaborate presents.)  My own gift was a photo mug, a collage of memories of the kids from the past year.  A mug has been my traditional gift since Josh's first Grandparents Day in 1999 and this 13th mug will join the others in a place of honor in Grandma's sewing room.  The Professor and I went to Hobby Lobby last week, where he debated the merits of an art deco hand mirror, an antique-looking magnifying glass, and an atomizer before deciding on two small rhinestone-encrusted frames which I filled with freshly snapped photos.

Foghorn's gifts are a little harder to explain.  Saturday night she had decided she wanted to earn money for a second Figit Friend.  It's known around here that extra chores can be done for cash, but Foghorn always finds the idea of manual labor a little too exhausting.  Instead she arrived at the couch (where I had been lounging all day, sick as a dog with some unknown ailment) with a lovely picture of a mermaid.  She asked if I wanted to buy it and I said certainly, to which she snapped, "That'll be 10 dollars!"  What?!?  I steadfastly refused and said I'd give her a dollar.  That lead to a shrieking fit that went on for half an hour during which I was accused of thinking she was a terrible artist and that I liked the Professor better than her (even though I never paid $10 for a picture of his either).

The Vulcan emerged from his cave office at one point to quiet her down and even offered $2, but she wouldn't go lower than $7.  And she made that loudly and ferociously clear.  At one point she sat with a pair of scissors in her hand and the picture held before her, ominously saying, "If you don't think I'm a good artist I might as well cut it up!"  I pulled the blanket over my head and refused to play her game anymore.  After about 20 minutes she stomped in saying, "I'll sell it to you for $1."  I agreed and was handed a thoroughly wrinkled mermaid picture.  "What the hell happened to this?", I squealed.  "I crumpled it up.  I figured if it wasn't worth $7 I might as well destroy it."  Jokingly I thrust it back at her saying, "Well, I don't want it if it looks like this..."  Her eyes started to well with tears and I quickly assured her I was kidding and produced a dollar.  I didn't need another hissy fit.

Her mania for money probably explains Grandma's gifts.  The first was ordinary enough -- a picture of Grandma's dog, Rusty, colored from an image put through's "Lights, Camera, Color!" program.  The other gifts...well...  One was a picture to "My Perfect Grandma" and depicted Foghorn (stretching about 6 feet tall) and Grandma (dressed as a princess).  The other was a pop-up card, with Grandma's three-dimensional form on the outside and "The Best Cook" inside.   These would have been heart-warming if Foghorn hadn't written "Price:  10 dollars" on each.

We finished up with an outing to the Old West Festival in Williamsburg.  Grandma, I salute you for being a great cook, a wonderful grandmother, and the only person who can spend a day with my kids and still be cheerful at the end.

If you'd like to read about our excursion to the Old West Festival, please check out:




Nancy Susanna Breen said...

I found Josh's personally chosen gifts very touching. Syd--well, I told Mom it really captures who she is at the moment. For better or worse.

Anonymous said...

I loved their gifts and the new mug as I always do. Most of all, I love having them come to my house for Sunday dinner, whatever mood they might be in that day.

Darlene's Quilts and Stuff said...

I thought Foghorn's gifts were great I guess because she made them. Artists are so temperamental don't you know. Hope you are feeling better today.

A day in Candiland said...

Oh, I feel terrible. I didn't even realize it was grandparents day. Why isn't it talked about more. Both my grandparents are gone, but I think of them often. My children actually spent the day with their grandparents at lunch yesterday and I didn't think about it. Thanks for your post.
From a fellow SITSta

maggieandthenuts said...

That Foghorn will be your ticket to early retirement. Her hissy fits may be a pain now, but she can make it up to you when she buys you a house with the pay off of those marketing skills!

Elisabeth Treble said...

Holy cow, your chillin's are amusing! I recall acting very much like that myself when I was a wee thing...sorry mom and dad. :)

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I think she and The Ballerina must be exchanging notes.