This I Believe

Rex - Blaine, Minnesota
Entered on April 17, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children, family

I believe in spoiling grandchildren. I believe in the value of spending enormous time, energy, and sometimes money on a child that you get to hand back to someone and say “here, it only looks bad, but you might want to put a bandage on that.” The act of spoiling a child does not have measurable value, but everyone who has been close to a grandparent can tell you that the relationship is priceless.

We have always jokingly called our house the Home for Wayward Boys and Girls. The Home’s various clients have made it lively for many years. I dearly love all the children that darken our doorways and smear the patio door glass. But though all visiting children are afforded consideration, my grandson Cory is my current main target for excessive attention.

Cory lived with us for the first three years of his life, so I have a lot of experience in figuring out ways to spoil him while avoiding the various required clean ups that follow a small boy like a cloud of summer gnats. Very early on, Cory became my woodworking shop buddy. He is a world champion at spreading glue and holding the end of a clamp. He learned well the two axioms of the grandfather /grandson relationship:

A. Grandma doesn’t need to know a thing unless we draw blood, and

B. Never cry in the shop, because tears and sawdust make a really nasty paste when ground into the eye.

In the early years, Cory learned how to glue scraps together to make his “projects.” They were messy and unorganized, but they kept him busy. In the end, they were valuable because once he forgot about them they would still burn, no matter how much glue he used. He learned that Grandpa always has time for a project, and there are always project materials in the shop. He also found that I was happy to loan him materials and that I didn’t mind when his mother yelled at me for giving him more scraps to take home. Apparently I never taught his mother the value of midnight raids for kindling.

The best present I have given Cory was a metal vise, several bags of fasteners, and a couple of afternoons in the shop making a “real” workbench together. He quickly learned the magic that can come from a bag of bolts, a stash of two by fours, and a little time with Grandpa. Because of that project, the next Christmas wish list sported a “real Craftsman” tool box at the very top. Much to his mother’s chagrin, he regularly raids my scrap bin for raw materials to take home.

Memories of my own grandfather include fishing, shucking walnuts, and trimming apple trees. Though the trees and Grandpa are gone, the priceless memories remain. I intend to give Cory a similar store of memories to inspire activities with his grandchildren.

I believe in spoiling grandchildren. Just keep plenty of bandages in the house.