I have two extremely smart grandsons that we are traveling to see. Being with them is challenging due to their precocious curiosity about EVERYTHING. They ask questions about stuff far above my knowledge base, then tell me the answers. Why are they asking me? Is this a grandma test? I usually fail it. Their latest achievement is playing Monopoly with the cutthroat attitudes of real estate moguls. I’ll be in the poorhouse for sure with them.
The oldest is not quite eleven but knows way more than me about computers, cell phones, and mammals. He’s been reading since before starting school. He’s read a couple of my novels and tells me what he thinks of them. He’s read all the Harry Potter books and has started on his dad’s Star Wars book collection. He says the Hardy Boys are boring. If a question stumps us both, he will research it and then educate the rest of us on what he found out. For a while, he watched videos on how to make paper airplanes. He knew all the terminology about pitch, yaw, uplift, drag, and all the stuff that goes with aerodynamics. He made some really nice ones that flew a long way in the back yard.
The youngest one knows just as much, has no love of reading, yet has an extreme curiosity about everything and a fear of nothing. He’s the tree-and-rock-climbing daredevil that you have to keep a close eye on, otherwise, your heart will stop when you finally spot him. This grandma will not be taking him to the Grand Canyon anytime soon.
As their grandma, I’ve exposed them to some radical ideas like having painted toenails and fingernails. Their mother is beautiful and doesn’t wear makeup or frivolous beauty things like I do. They were quite fascinated with my colored nails and said my toes looked like they had buttons to push on them. In their play, my toes were mashed as alert buttons, walkie-talkie buttons, and other things. They’ve also inquired why my hair is changing colors. Most of my answers are, “Because I’m a grandma and that’s what happens when you are.”
The youngest grandson is the one that looks me up and down, like I’m something that is to be studied and understood. He asked why my neck “is so loose” and everyone else has “stiff necks.” Rather than explain the loss of elasticity of skin as you age and being too fat, I told him it was my grandma neck. Most grandmas have “loose necks”, I told him, and he seemed satisfied with that. I used that excuse on a number of his questions about my personal appearance.
The most embarrassing thing he questioned me about was my upper arms. “Why are they so big?” he asked. Oh wow, how do I explain this one? “Well,” I started, “they are grandma arms, stuffed full of love. When I hug you, all that love is wrapped around you. My arms are big because I love you that much.” That made him smile and ask for a hug. My big, flappy arms embraced him with all that love.
Someday, playing the Grandma card isn’t going to work with them, but until then, it seems the simplest answer. It may be the best answer. My big, fat body is stuffed with love for them and that will never change. When I hug them, it’s wrapped around them.