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We ran by our daughter and son-in-law’s house last week to drop off some things we had picked up for them from the big box store when we were there. Their oldest son was at kindergarten, but the 2-year-old twins, Ellis and Brady were in the dining room in their high chairs, eating lunches that would be a challenge for a grown man to consume.

I peeked around the corner and caught Ellis’ eye. “Gramma!” he shouted, with a huge grin.  And immediately, both boys stretched wildly to try to see beyond me for the real object of their attention, who they know is generally right behind me.

“Grampa!” “Grampa!” both of them squealed, moving their high chairs side to side and actually propelling them forward across the hardwood floor to get at my husband, John. Because you see, he is the bearer of Bugles and cookies and pretzels and sips of soda at all hours of the day and night with no remorse at all when cautioned that it’s lunchtime or naptime or bedtime. He’s automatically given a pass because he’s Grandpa.

And heck, yeah, I’m jealous!

How can the flashy pair of dangly earrings I wore to show them ever compete with the bounty in his jeans pockets that will soon be shoveled into their mouths? I hate playing by the rules while Grandpa has all the fun.

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But it’s nothing new. We have a picture on a family room bookcase shelf of me holding a finally-sleeping, colicky 2-month-old baby Conor, his eyebrows still drawn down in pain after an hour of my pacing the floor with him, humming “You Are My Sunshine” as he tried to calm enough to rest. 

Right next to it is a picture of him as a 3-year-old, sitting on Grandpa’s lap at a wedding reception happily sipping through a straw as John laughs at him. The glass holds a wickedly sugary concoction of Dr. Pepper laced with cherry juice from the bottom of the jar of maraschino cherries that John had the bartender pour into it.  That was nine years ago, and Conor is probably still on a sugar high from that night. 

And heck, yeah, I’m jealous!

It’s been the same with each of the nine grandkids.

Little goodies slipped when no one’s looking, “just a few minutes more” when bedtime is long overdue, a couple of dollar bills to reward a great report card or just end a fun afternoon.

Heck, yeah, I’m jealous!

But I’m also so happy there are wonderful memories being made, little things the kids are remembering as they’re getting older: 2-year-old giggles as they peek around me to find their grandpa, LEGO building sessions, and fake wrestling with the 6-year-old, a couple of extra purchases at Five Below when we spend an afternoon with the grandgirls, a wink as we order chocolate shakes at lunch when the out-of-town grandkids are visiting.

This is the man I fell in love with so many years ago. 

And the man who lit up our four kids’ faces simply by walking through the door every evening, who coached sports teams and attended dance recitals when he was bone-tired after work, and who made sure we took the kids with us when he had to put in Saturday hours at work, letting them pick out their own fruits and vegetables and ride down the conveyor belt with the box of goodies they were taking home with them that day.

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He knows how to make things fun and memories wonderful. He always has. There’s just a little mischief in his mind and a twinkle in his eye when he’s with the grandkids.

Heck, yeah, I’m jealous!

And I love him so very much for it!

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Vicki Bahr

I'm a mother of four, grandmother of nine, wife of John for fifty years, an incurable optimist, word lover, and story sharer. I've worked and played at many careers, from proofreader to preschool teacher, businesswoman to human interest newspaper columnist to medical records clerk. Each path has afforded me the opportunity to appreciate the warmth of humanity and to hopefully spread a lifetime of smiles, empathy, and God's inspiration along the way. My life continues to be one of delight. With experience comes understanding, with understanding comes peace.

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