Over the river…

…and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go.

No matter how weird, crazy, driven, toxic or angry the rest of our modern world is, there is always one safe haven—Grandma’s house.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like the place Grandma calls home.  In an unstable world she is stability.  In a world of spite and anger she radiates love without guile.   In a world of casual mockery and careless insults she will always guild her honesty with tenderness.  In a world with an attention span challenged by anything longer than 144 characters she is fascinated by everything you say for as long as you care to say it.

Grandmas see beauty where others see scribbles.  She is not pretending—she can actually read love’s pure and vulnerable language in squiggly crayon lines on a page.

Grandmas are baggage-free.  They jettisoned all the useless stuff years ago.  They’ve found through their own hard experience what you’re still trying to discover.   They’ve made it through the fire that’s currently keeping you turning slowly over life’s living barbeque.   They’re finally able to stop worrying about the things that don’t matter, although they worry plenty about the things that do.

There is a clarity to Grandma.  We show by our actions what’s important in life, and Grandmas make it very clear exactly what’s important:  warm cookies just out of the oven and a refrigerator covered with smiling suns and giant heads supported by sticks with fingers and toes.   What you get from Grandma is honest love, seared clear from all distractions.

Meanwhile, out in the workshop is Grandpa.

We Grandpas aren’t the grumpy old men we’re sometimes made out to be, it’s just that we can’t help but pale a little in comparison to the incandescent bulb that runs the place.  Moonlight’s great after all, until the sun comes up.

Grandpas care a lot, but we just tend to be quieter about it.  You might have to seek us out a little bit (after you’ve finished the fresh brownies) but we’re there, with some smarts of our own.   We won’t make as big a fuss over your latest artwork as Grandma does—but that’s just because Grandma can’t help but be a little over the top when she gets something new to put on the refrigerator.   When she looks at your picture she sees an artist.  We see an architect.  All her fussing over you means we can get away with a quiet smile.  Economy of effort.   But we’re just as impressed, and just as proud.

And besides, it’s not a competition.  Just know that we’re always ready to teach a skill, or help you read a book.  Or have a catch.

And now some advice to Mom and Dad.  Although you’d never say it, perhaps you’re a little resentful that your kids sometime seem to like Grandma and Grandpa more than they like you.  The painful truth:  they probably do, since we get to just love your kids without the added burden of having to train and raise them.  But the good news is, we’re on your side.  When your children get a little older and come to grandma and grandpa for advice about stuff they wouldn’t dare bring up with you, we’ll steer them in the right direction for you.  We promise.

All we ask is that you return the favor to your own grandkids when the children who are currently driving you a little crazy become parents themselves.

And finally, I’ll let you in on a secret you can look forward to.  When I was a child, I used to love going to Grandma’s.  Now I get to live there every day.   I believe you’d refer to this as mad perks.

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