raising twins,momo twins,monoamniotic,premature,identical,multiples The good, bad & the ugly...real life!: Change of Heart

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Change of Heart

While I was a teenager my parents enjoyed a fair amount of traveling with their friends, who were empty nesters. Although close to it, my parents were not empty nesters and I really resented them acting as if they were.  They would go out of town for about a week of every month during the winter months while I was in high school.  To many teenagers parents going out of town is accompanied by vast amounts of freedom and excitement, but not for me.  Although I didn't ever do anything for my parents to question their trust for me I was always sentenced to staying at my Grandma & Grandpas house.  It was close to my high school and they watched me like a hawk.  My Grandma & Grandpa were the kindest people in the world and they were always very happy to have me at their house.  I had the hardest time sleeping while I was there.  I am not sure why, but I was always ridiculasly scared at night. Even though they were in the bedroom right across the hall I spent many nights wide awake with a sick feeling in my stomach.  As time went on and I knew the time was coming I would sneak a few Tylenol PM out of the cabinet to take on my journey to Grandma & Grandpas house.

Every morning they would both be waiting for me to get ready for school and then we would all sit down for breakfast together, which was a bowl of Frosted Flakes with a banana that Grandma had already cut on it and a glass of apple juice.  Occasionally we would spot a deer crossing their back yard out the sliding glass door that was next to the dining room table while we were eating.  If I were there over the weekend Grandma would always make a hot breakfast on Saturday.

I had a late birthday, so I didn't start driving until my junior year, which meant that they had to drive me to school.  They were very willing and didn't mind the task at all, but I sure did.  They would both take me to school everyday in their yellow Cadillac.  Grandpa was so proud of his yellow caddy.  I remember him saying that the car was getting old and he should probably get a new one, but he was sure he wouldn't be able to find anything as nice as what he already had.  I didn't share his feelings regarding the caddy.  It was huge and nothing in the ballpark of classiness or "cool" to a teenage girl.  I mean the kind of huge that the front of the car arrived at it's destination a good five minutes before the rest of the car, at least it seemed like it.  It always felt as if it were floating down the road in the Caddy.  I didn't ever dare to wear a seatbelt because the buckles were neatly tucked away and I didn't want to mess them up. As we would round corners if I were caught off guard and not holding onto the door handle I would slide across the always Armor-alled seats.

Then came the dreaded arrival at the school.  I would always tell Grandpa that he could drop me off on the corner and didn't have to fight all of the traffic in front of the school, but he always insisted on wrestling his way through the traffic and taking me right to the front of the school where he would then run around the car as fast as he could to open my door and give me a kiss on the cheek.  I would run into school, red faced in hopes that I had been invisible with the bag of snacks that Grandma had packed just in case I was hungry before lunch.  She usually packed some homemade cookies, a piece of fruit and always a napkin.  Even though I assured them that my parents had given me plenty of lunch money Grandpa always insisted that I take an extra $5 from his wallet just in case lunch and my morning snacks weren't enough.

The end of the day would come very quickly and it would be time for my curbside service pickup in the shiny, yellow Caddy.  I would walk out the school doors and there it was...right before my very eyes as if I were a movie star getting into a limo...Grandpa in his light colored, perfectly pressed polyester slacks, a sweater to match and his shiny shoes happily standing with my door wide open.  I would quickly get into the car and duck, pretending to get something out of my backpack until the school was out of sight.  Grandma would be sitting in the front seat with a snack for me to eat on the way home or wherever we were going just in case my lunch and bag of snacks weren't enough.  We would usually go back to Grandma & Grandpa's house or occasionally stop at the store, bank or head over to their favorite place to eat.  At each place they were "regulars" and there was a very nice person on the opposite side of the counter that called them by name, which made them very happy.

When we would go out to eat they typically had "their" waitress.  The waitress of course knew them by name and what they would like to eat and would sometimes place their order before Grandma & Grandpa even thought that they knew that they were there.  Grandpa was a very wise, frugal man and would always leave $1 tip or sometimes even $2 and a handful of Werther's candies(those were his trademark that he gave to everyone everywhere he went) no matter how much the bill came to.  The waitresses knew what to expect and didn't seem to mind.  I would often sneak what was left of my $5 from lunch onto the table as we were leaving.

We would always go home to have our Snicker's Ice Cream bar.  No matter where we had been Grandpa & I always sat at the table and chatted while eating our ice cream bars when we got home.

Evenings were very long at their house for a teenage gal.  I am not sure why, but I was always afraid to ask to go with friends or to ask to borrow the phone to call a friend.  Instead I would sit in my room and do my homework several times over or proceed to the basement to join Grandma & Grandpa watching Lawrence Welk or a John Wayne movie and a bowl of ice cream.

Well, as much as I dreaded my weeks at Grandma & Grandpa's house I have some to appreciate the visits over Snickers ice cream bars and the kindness that I learned from Grandma & Grandpa.  I wish I would have gotten over my teenage self and realized the royal treatment that I was receiving and really enjoyed  and learned from the time that I spent with Grandma & Grandpa, rather than counting the days until I could go back home.  Everywhere they went they were known by name and well loved and respected.  Grandma & Grandpa also had a great love and respect for each other.  Grandpa always vacuumed the floor and got Grandma's bath water ready.  Grandma always fixed Grandpa's food just the way he liked it and always had his clothes washed, pressed, and ready for him to wear.  Neither did anything because it was expected or because the other couldn't do it, but because of the love & respect they had for each other.

Grandpa Passed away last week and I was a little disappointed that his body was transported in a hearse.  I am sure they could have put half a dozen caskets in the trunk of that shiny, yellow caddy.


  1. That was fun to read, Misty! I totally feel for you cause we had a great big loooong car (which we called "the boat") when I was growing up too. I was always so embarrassed to be seen by my friends in it. I look back now and realize how silly I was. :)

  2. Oh, your story has me in tears. It's so sad how often we really don't realize what a great thing we have until it's gone. I'll bet a final ride in a Cadi would have been perfect for your grandpa!