Heading up with Grandma and Grandpa


Jon and I realized last week that the upcoming weekend was going to be insane. Jon needed to prepare for an interview at work and I had to attend an all-day retreat Saturday and finish a load of work on Sunday. We were stressing about what to do with the kids on Thursday afternoon and then TA-DA! Super Patty to the rescue!

My mother-in-law is 71 (or 72?) years old. She looks 50. She moves like she’s 25. She plays with the kids like she’s 15. She also takes care of my father-in-law who is 92. For 92 years old, he does well traveling with Patty and walking to and fro but Patty still needs to be there for him on a consistent basis to take care of basic needs.

I remember going to my grandmas’ houses to spend the night. I looked forward to playing Chinese checkers or watching tv and eating a bowl of ice cream. But after that initial night, I was ready to go home. See my friends. Play with my toys. Grandma only had so much energy (or desire) to keep me occupied. But our kiddos… well….

“Mom, please let me stay at Grandma Ionno’s for five days”, pleads Mario every week. When Ri came running into the house Thursday night asking if she could have a play date with Sophie on Saturday and I told her no because she was going to Grandma’s, she jumped up and down with excitement: “can I stay there all weekend”, she asked.

And so there is never any guilt when sending them to Patty’s and Joe’s because I know they love it and they will be treated like royalty (and the same can be said about all their grandparents – they have got three sets of world class grandmas and grandpas, lucky dogs).

Patty picked them up on Friday after school even though she had planned on meeting Jon on Saturday (the kids begged to go up on Friday). They walked around the pond and chased geese. They ate yummy treats. They played on the iPad. They got treated to the bowling alley on Saturday night. Patty took them by herself while Joe stayed home with Chris. They won tickets and got all sorts of crazy toys. On Sunday, they had a St. Patrick’s Day party complete with hats, necklaces, green shirts, and cheesy potatoes (Ri’s favorite). Patty took them out to get all the decor and food for the day. I mean, seriously, how fun of a weekend is that for a kid?!

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Patty can’t leave Mario’s sight when he is up there with her. When Ri asked Patty to get Life cereal at the store, Mario begged Patty not to leave. Being the negotiator that he is, he turned to Ri and said “you don’t need Life cereal, you can have one of my Lunchables for breakfast (he thinks that is a present of gold since they have Oreos in them). Mario was upset when he found out Ri was going with him for the weekend complaining “I never get alone time with Grandma!” Ha, that’s a big ol’ fib seeing he has probably spent the most time with her and Joe of all the grandkids. But he will do what it takes to get extra time. And sure enough, Patty allowed him to stay through Wednesday while Ri had to come home to school (Ri uses every chance to tell Mario that he will be in school soon and won’t be able to spend time with Grandma on the weekdays).

Mario spiked a fever Sunday afternoon. Patty called with the news and immediately started brainstorming on how she could help so that I could get into work this week. She’s gotta double as my mother-in-law and guardian angel because she ended up keeping him up there with her and taking him to an Urgent Care so that I could attend mandatory meetings at work.

I know she and Joe love their time with the kids and feel no burden taking them like they do. That is a blessing. But I feel completely indebted to her for taking these munchos when we get in binds like this past weekend (and now week). I am so grateful to have such a support network in my family. There is a great peace of mind in knowing that no matter what problematic situations arise, my familia peeps have my back… and provide loads of fun for the kids while doing it.

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