Posts Tagged ‘ grandparents ’

The Closest Thing I Get To A Vacation, As A Parent

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

A few weeks ago, Mommy asked me if I had any idea why my weekly paycheck was significantly higher than usual. I wanted to believe that I had been given a raise by my boss, without me being notified first.

Hashtag, “wishful thinking.”

Turns out, my extra vacation days had just automatically cashed out since I didn’t take them since the anniversary of my hire date.

That’s the way it has to be, though. I have to prepare for several extra days throughout the year for you to be sick.

Fortunately, you hardly got sick this year so I didn’t need to cash in my sick days on your behalf.

As for myself, I don’t get sick either but there are definitely days I just wish I could call in sick and truly have the day off.

But then I would feel guilty driving you all the way to school for that; just to have a day with truly no responsibilities. Not to mention, I hate the thought of spending gas money on that, too.

And by now, I have clearly established the fact that a family vacation is not truly a vacation, but a quest for fun.

Still, I am not without hope.

The closest thing I get to a vacation, as a parent, is taking the 2 and a half hour drive to Nonna and Papa’s house, for the weekend.

I still get to spend time with you but with a 3 to 1 adult to kid ratio, since your Auntie Dana, Uncle Andrew, and cousin Calla are there too, along with my parents.

You and I are both more relaxed. I like for you to be able to see me in that sort of mind; not just the one where I have to be in charge all the time.

So it’s kind of like a vacation for both you and me.

From sitting on Papa’s face (featured as top picture) to hearing Nonna read you and your cousin Calla a story (featured directly above), it’s just good, easy times for the whole family.

We don’t need a fancy trip or destination. It’s funny how family is not only home, but also a vacation.





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Calling For Grandparental Reinforcement To Finish Dinner

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

There’s no question that you love your GoGo Squeez applesauce pouches. (As do I.)

It’s just that you’ve begun to associate finishing your applesauce with finishing dinner, and therefore, having to get ready for bed.

So you take your time eating dinner, essentially trying to make it never ending.

But a few nights ago, you were really putting up a fight… Mommy and I never let you finish dinner without eating some kind of fruit.

So half jokingly, Mommy asked you if we needed to call Papa (my dad) to tell you to finish your applesauce.

You hesitantly agreed.

I quickly briefed Papa on what was going on before putting him on speakerphone and handing the phone to you.

“Jack, you need to eat your applesauce. It’s good for you,” Papa advised.

You didn’t say a word. You just listened, nearly in disbelief that I actually called Papa about this.

He did his best, but ultimately, after the phone call, you still stood your ground.

We gave you a choice: Either eat your applesauce and have some playtime afterwards, or go straight upstairs to get ready for bed.

You chose to go straight upstairs. (Granted, Mommy still forced you to eat a spoon of applesauce before taking you upstairs.)

So sort of like the time you put yourself in time-out so you wouldn’t have to get dressed, you chose not eating applesauce over getting extra playtime.

Just in case you missed it, here’s the irony:

You didn’t want to eat your applesauce because it signified going upstairs to get ready for bed, meaning your fun time would come to an end.

So you refused your applesauce, meaning you went straight upstairs, forgoing the option of playing with your toys in the living room for a few minutes before going upstairs.

Even Papa tried to help. But sometimes you’re just so set in your ways.





P.S. I have to brag on GoGo Squeez. Their products are free of high fructose corn syrup or any added colors or flavors. I’m not waiting or hoping for the government to mandate food labeling. Instead, I’m taking control of the situation myself by purposely buying food from brands I can trust. Brands that aren’t dependent on Monsanto for their livelihood or that are shady about their ingredients. Any food brand that can claim to be kosher certified, as well as vegan friendly, has my attention:

100% natural Kosher certified BPA free packaging Gluten free Wheat free Vegan friendly



(Plus, all GoGo Squeez products are produced free of common allergens, including milk, egg, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish.)

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Grandfathers Are An Instant Magnet For Toddler Boys

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

21 months.

Labor Day morning we drove 2 hours to Chattanooga to visit my dad’s parents. My grandfather was retiling the shower when we arrived.

All Jack could see was the backside of man in overalls, who was pounding something with a hammer, but he was sold.

Whoever this mystery man was, my son needed to met him.

I didn’t bother explaining that he was my “dada’s dada.” I just let him be enthralled.

We made our way into the living room and Jack barely gave my grandfather time to sit down before Jack was making him play.

As weird as this sounds, my son has never been exposed to a toy sword before. So after finding one in their toy stash, he kept flying the “airplane” all over my grandfather.

It’s pretty easy to get my son to think you’re cool- just be a grandfather.

I have no trouble understanding this attraction. Little boys are adventurous.

And who has seen more adventure than a Korean War veteran with a Purple Heart? Somehow Jack sensed this about my grandfather.

Jack loves grandfathers.

I’ve mentioned before that in some ways, no one seems to understand Jack better than my dad, who he calls Papa. Jack has always been obsessed with my dad.

When I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. Though we live 2 and a half hours from my parents, Jack randomly says “Papa” in the middle of playtime for no apparent reason. Except for maybe that he associates adventure with his Papa.

This past weekend we hung out with Jack’s friend Henry, his parents, and grandparents. There was the train ride with Thomas, then breakfast at First Watch, and lastly we decided to tour the pet store next door.

After exploring several of the aisles with me nonchalantly trailing behind him, Jack saw Henry’s grandfather around the corner.

He lifted his hands up to him and said in his Todfather voice: “Up-eh!”

From there, Henry’s grandfather carried Jack around the store, as Jack pointed to the direction his new chauffeur was to take him.

I guess that’s one of the things that grandfathers are known for in the mind of a toddler boy; getting carried around in the likeness of a parrot on the shoulder of a pirate.

After a few minutes, Henry’s grandfather brought Jack back and sort of whispered like he was telling me a secret:

“When it comes to grandpa’s, boys just seem to know.”

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My Son Renamed My Dad As “Papa”

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

17 months.

Gone are the days when grandparents are cool with being called Grandma and Grandpa. That’s like calling your administrative assistant a secretary. After all, this is the age of hipster toddlers.

It’s common knowledge that any grandmother going by the name of Nana or Nonna is going to be the hippest on the block. As for grandfathers, my own dad chose to be called “Pappy.”

He has been “Pappy” for Jack’s entire life… until Easter weekend. That was the first time since Jack started talking that he saw his Pappy.

When he saw my dad, he immediately called for him, saying “Papa, Papa,” reaching out his arms to be held. In fact, Jack called him “Papa” the whole weekend.

So I guess that’s it. Jack has a Nonna and a Papa. Not a Nonna and a Pappy.

Since Jack is the oldest grandchild of my parents, Papa is probably the name that is going to stick.

I think that’s a really cool name for the modern grandfather. As a child of the Eighties, I associate the word with Papa Smurf. Being that my dad has a goatee, it fits him.

It’s as if Jack said, “So listen, I totally respect the whole ‘Pappy” thing; how you wanted to be called that and all. But you see, you’re gonna be Papa instead.”

I’m pretty sure my dad doesn’t mind.

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My Grandma’s Highway to Heaven

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Ten months.

My Mexican grandmother, Lola Mendez Metallo, has always been one funny grandma, though not necessarily intentionally. Like the way she has always prefaced her jokes with “I’m gonna tell you a joke…”.

Or the fact that she literally managed to see the movie Dirty Dancing a total of 37 times when it originally came to theaters back in 1987, though she never learned to drive a car.

Not to mention the way she always found a way to delightfully sprinkle our holiday dinner conversations with mentions of the most recently escaped prison convicts she had heard about on the radio. Classic.

Plus, I’ve never known anyone more intrigued by angels. I remember how when the TV show Touched by an Angel was still on the air, she would never miss an episode and had a talent for relating every life situation back to the most recent one she had seen,especially if the episode had anything to do with an abused animal. (Her favorite show in the ’80′s was Highway to Heaven, which was also about angels interacting with humans.)

Here recently, I have been thinking about her a lot. I know her health has faded more drastically since my Italian grandfather passed away over three years ago. It’s one of those things where I know that she could just one day never wake up; or she could ultimately be here for several more years. In either case, I am consciously aware of the fact that her time on Earth is especially limited.

It’s an interesting (and sad) perspective; to know my grandma may be in her final months, yet everyday I watch my young son grow up a little bit more. I see one life coming to a close and another just getting things started. It’s a constant paradox in my head.

Knowing her time could be soon, I’m literally dealing with her passing, now; before it even happens. People deal with death differently- I guess I deal with it prematurely, reminiscing her life while she’s still here to answer questions I still have and tell her I love her several times in every potentially last conversation I have with her.

I know she’s going to love finally joining the angels she has talked so much about, but I really would mind hearing a couple more of her jokes; especially if she tells me up front that I’m about to hear a joke.

Unexpected Bonus…

It can be easy to write off human interactions with angels as tall tales, but according to the Bible, we entertain angels unaware. Today, someone will win a free book called Angels, which helps explain the interactions of angels in humans’ lives, backed up with Biblical stories and references.

If you would like a free copy of Angels mailed to your house, just be the first person to leave a comment on this post, then within 60 minutes, send me an email ( including your name and mailing address.

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