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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Thanksgiving 1: Homeliness

‘The quality of being simple or ordinary, but pleasant, in a way that makes you think of home.’ (Cambridge English Dictionary)

The other day Annette and I scrambled to receive Camille (1.5 years) and Jacob (2 years) for a day of puppy love (labs are toddlers’ best friends) and clever Thanksgiving crafts (Annette’s decade as a preschool teacher was NOT in vain). In a flash I realized: our empty-nester days are done.

We are homebound, spending much of our week caring for grandkids. And thankful for it! To be fair, Annette carries the day here—merrily, and by day’s end, wearily. She thrives on grandparenting; to be honest, I am falling in love with her again. I recall something of how she parented ours but today with a temperance and seasoned freedom that is appealing. Grandma still got it. And then some.

Case in point: Annette can discern between a kid’s naughtiness (whining, crying, grasping due to wanting everything NOW!) and need, the child’s frustration at not being able to convey something essential. For the former, Annette sets consistent limits; the latter prompts her to swoop the child up in her arms for gentle talk so that ‘needs’ can be recognized and met. There’s no love like a wise Grandma’s….

Ture confession. I like being ‘Boppy’ too (what the kids decided to call me). I’m around just enough to walk the dogs with them, garden (I gather, they scatter), and underscore limits with a voice deeper and less negotiable than Annette’s. It’s fun to parent later in life with skills previously learned (or realize now you hadn’t learned), all with the bonus of a 5pm pick-up time.

Something odd is happening, catching me off guard. The grandkids like me. I recall one remote, grouchy grandpa who died quickly. But these grandkids are already familiar with me and desire my presence. To be sure, Annette is the supernova here; I am more like the semi-random falling star. But Camille and Jacob watch for that star, call out its name constantly, and wrap around it like clay.

Nothing like it. I savor each hug and give thanks.

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