My Turn: An 'invasion' some think is worth seeing

As summer slowly – ever so slowly – approaches in the world of COVID-19, so does my thought of ever becoming a grandparent.

As the father of one unattached son, now in his late 30s, I have been told by friends that “grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation,” helping “fill a space in your heart that you never knew was empty.”

My parents, who were blessed with five grandsons, undoubtedly would subscribe to the sentiment, perhaps adding that if they had known “grandchildren were this much fun, we would have had them first.”

My late father said as much in a column he wrote more than 25 summers ago in the wake of an “invasion” of his children’s offspring. It went something like this:

“It’s that time of year when they descend on the earth in unbelievable numbers. They scurry across the land eating everything in sight, often leaving a path of devastation.

They’re called grandchildren!

“They come in all sizes, all ages, all manner of dress, and in their greetings are numerous hugs and kisses. Thus, the destruction of trimmed lawns, neat bedrooms, and carefully protected sports equipment is about to begin.

“It’s a season that grandparents wait for and relish, with only passing thoughts on how long they’ll be able to withstand the pace of activity.

“Quiet time is the first period to be cancelled. Then comes the Wednesday round of golf with the regular Monday foursome. The bi-monthly evening of bridge also goes by the board. Naptime is something of the past. Almost eliminated are serious reading and the evening news hour.

“Unaccustomed physical strain becomes evident to the oldsters by starting each day earlier than usual and ending same much later, after countless trips from here to there escorting swimmers, would-be tennis and golf champions, and up-and-coming basketball stars harboring NBA dreams.  It comes to the point that in your sleep you see high-priced athletes soaring over tall buildings rather than soft, little lambs jumping over a fence.

“Breakfast becomes a lengthy operation with the toaster, jam, peanut butter, and whatever fruit juice escaped the previous day’s onslaught. Lunch preparations start almost immediately after breakfast clean up ... and so it goes.

“There are trips to the market for additional provisions. You weren’t aware that so much soda had been bottled, or that such quantities of ice cream had been packaged, or that so many innocent looking business places sell hot dogs and pre-packaged sandwiches.

“Claiming a large portion of my previous down time are such things as sweatshirt shops, video arcades, and fudge parlors.

“Fortunately, these grandchildren have aunts who bake bread every day and whose doors are seemingly always open for a collection of out-of-town invaders.

“But then comes the sad days of departures. Goodbyes at the airport or at the car door with joyful cries of, ‘I’m going to stay longer next year’ or ‘come see us soon.’

“Suddenly, the house is quiet and empty. The play tools are back in order. Hangers have been replaced on closet rods, beds stripped, rugs straightened, odd socks raked from under the beds, forgotten toothbrushes tossed in the trash. The refrigerator is once more properly organized and the crumbs have been vacuumed from the floor.

“God bless the children – and the grandchildren. And now we lay us down to sleep.”



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