I get the whole changing world thing and all, but could someone slow it down enough to tell me where Grandma fits in these days?
When I was young, back in the dark ages it seems, there was a specific role that Grandparents filled and it was exclusive to them.
Grandma cooked your favorite foods, even if she was a lousy cook like my Grandmother. Who cared? To this day I can’t see a bowl of lumpy cream of wheat or greasy hamburger without getting all misty for my grandma.
Grandma told stories, she bought you things your parents would not and most simply grandparents got to look at you like you were a banana split and created the unfortunate misconception that someone someday would look at you that same loving way again. I am still waiting.
You watched the Wednesday night fights with your Grandpa even if you had no idea what they were about and they were bloody and gross. You knew Milton Berle was funny when he dressed up as a woman and tripped all over himself in high heels because you heard your grandparents in hysterics. You knew that they would take you anywhere you wanted to see anything you wanted, because they loved you in a very special otherworldly way.
They attended all recitals and clapped the loudest.
My favorite story about my Grandfather was when I was taking dancing lessons as a child.
Our recital number that year was witch doctors.
My grandfather couldn’t wait to come and see me dance… and talked about it for weeks. I had to show him my steps and he watched while I practiced.
Caveat was that as witch doctors they dressed us in black and painted our faces with glow in the dark paint and feathers on our heads.
When our number began they turned out the lights and all you could see were lights and feathers moving about on stage.
My poor grandfather kept asking my mother, which one is Norma, which one is she? Can you see her?
Poor Grandpa, I so hated to disappoint him.
My grandfather also took my brother Marty and I fishing in the everglades, my grandmother let us keep the catfish we caught in the bathtub until after a day that wore thin. Every day we spent with them was filled with fun and adventures.
Fast forward to today’s grandparent.
Ah, the Baby Boomer generation.
We are busy, active and creating new lives in our golden years.
We have to because our grandchildren don’t need us in the same way anymore.
The unkindest cut of all?
The other day my daughter informed me the Nanny had noticed they all had colds and made chicken soup for the house!
Et Tu Jewish penicillin?
Of course there are some parents who still rely on grandparental help, but it’s all so different now it seems.
Well, why wouldn’t it be when my five-year-old grandson is teaching me how to move forward on the levels of Angry Birds.
Kids today are better-fed, no greasy chicken schmaltz for them, they have Nannies, they eat gluten free and vegan and did you know dairy is evil? I didn’t until my daughter told me. After all those Howard Johnson’s ice cream cones I ate as a kid it’s a wonder I’m still here.
Meat is very minimal and organic, cold pressed juices are a staple and no don’t ask me the difference between cold pressed and hot, and organic and free range is the goal of all food products.
For someone who was still eating gribenes (chicken fat and skins with onions cooked until crunchy) up to five years ago, what do I know?
So what can we contribute to our grandchildren’s lives?
My daughter buys organic clothing.
Toys? Do not spoil is the watchword today.
Television? Sorry, highly limited.
And to their credit field trips to the zoo, apple picking, concerts and theater are reserved for parents.
So for Grandma and Grandpa what is left?
Well, I read stories, play games, draw pictures and watch Paw Patrol and the list of approved programming. I have played Bugopoly (the kids version of Monopoly) until my own eyes bugged out.
Grandma must delve deep into her inner child to create fun and exciting adventures.
We take walks, check out trees and flowers and I actually help my grandson collect bugs.
The only buggy experience I shared with my children was when they called me in their rooms to get rid of one.
I have learned you will do things for and with your grandchildren never dreamed of in your imagination, Horatio.
No matter how things change there will always be one thing that doesn’t.
The banana split look on every grandparent’s face when they look at their grandchildren will survive the generations. The love between the two, no matter what activities come before, will never diminish.
And this is what we must put our faith in. That while playing golf, starting new businesses and traveling the world, there is still our anchor on the other side of the Face time on your phone even when you are five thousand miles away visiting far away regions and river cruising.
I wouldn’t trade one “hi grandma” for a million tours of the Taj Mahal or visits to the Tuscan countryside.
All points point to those little faces that light up when they see you, and that no matter the times, places or circumstances, will never change!
Greek Noodle Pudding
2 cups of egg noodles
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup feta cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
6 large eggs
1 cup of onion sautéed
¼ cup of chopped pitted Greek olives if desired. This is optional for those who like olives.
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of Greek seasoning
Salt to taste
Boil noodles, drain and set aside
Sauté onion until translucent
Beat eggs and add seasoning
Add cheeses, melted butter, olives and onions to eggs
Fold in noodles and pour mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish
Place in preheated 350-degree oven and bake for one hour or until set.
Serve with lamb for a real flavor of Greece.