Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ode to Grandparents

Grandparents are like….

(This writing prompted by the remembrance of the numerous occasions of having our bacon – to reference a friends phrasing – saved by our children’s grandparents, and in preparation for an international travel where our children will be in the care of our parents, their grandparents.)

Grandparents are like good news from a foreign land.

They are like a relief pitcher with a very low ERA that can come in to get you out a bind in the first inning, can pitch middle relief, can be a set-up man, or close it out in a close game.

At my elementary school, a whole day was devoted to this class of people. I think you took pictures with them so that the image could be pasted into the midst of a pumpkin and put squarely or otherwise on a refrigerator door.

I say we pick a new fruit and a different destination for that fruit-with-image. A pumpkin. A pumpkin is more like the thing that I was told I would turn into should I stay up too late (a time which is arbitrary, but has tended to fall earlier than later). Pupmkins have been used as a carving substrate – on which faces are cut and paint is poured. Pumpkins are seasonal – a gord that is here today and gone with the passing season.

No, I say if we are to put a photo on a fruit, then let that fruit be a box of raisins. A box of raisins, especially Sunmai, are a tried and true symbol of stability. When in a bind with screaming child, the raisin is a symbol of hope amidst the storm. The raisin is not going to wither on you. It does not beg for special treatment. It is content in its non-perishable box for days on end. The raisin is sweet. It contains sugar. It has been tested by time, and has not been found wanting. A grape is stomped by a foot-and is lost forever; a raisin is stomped by a foot, and ready to eat then and there.

Yes – I say if we are to continue the tradition of grandparent-photo-pasting upon such and such a fruit, then the raisin should be my choice for that fruit. Grandparents are a symbol of stability, like the raisin. They are to young parents, a symbol of hope amidst the chaos. They do not beg for special treatment. They are sweet. they have been tested by time.

And lastly, a refrigerator is an interesting home for the grandparent-in-fruit concoction. Such a concotion can be lost amidst magnets and half-broken magnets and wedding invitations, and pictures of special and everyday events. There is nothing wrong with any of those objects, but there is so much right about the grandparent-in-fruit (hopefully henceforth ‘grandparent-in-raisin), that for it to be another refrigerator icon would be to underplay the gravity of the whole enterprise. A frame might do, but standard pictures have frames.

I’ve got it – we will blow it up into a lifesize cardboard cut-out. Yes, we must. And we can have the 4 grandparents at the 4 corners of the living rooms, acting as sentinels during the night, and teammates for Jayden’s pretend basketball games by day. Duncan could hug each and then chew a leg of whichever he chose, perhaps all. Campbell could coo her coo at you, and Christy and I could remember one of the larger graces of God in our lives to date – that of our parents, our chidlren’s grandparents – and you would be enshrined for all to see, that we might tell them the stories of the times after times when you, like the raisin, have been a portrait of God’s hope, care and stability for us amidst whatever season we have found ourselves.



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