I obviously have a lot of great stories about my mom. She has been an amazing mom. But her true calling is being a grandmother. I think she's aware of this fact as well because, regardless of how much fun she has with my boys, there is no mistaking the relief etched on her face when it is time to return them to their primary caregivers.
Aidan and Connor's favorite game to play with her is Hide and Seek. Now, I'm not really sure when the allure of Hide and Seek wears off for most kids, but when they are with their grandma, any sign of my boys discontinuing their Hide and Seek pursuits are not to be found.
To the untrained eye, the manner in which my mom plays Hide and Seek with my boys may be viewed as mindless placating of youngsters. The untrained eye misses so many beautiful, wonderful items.
You see, when my mom is "Seeking," my boys whip themselves into a frenzy and resemble Shaggy and Scooby from the old cartoons. You know the scene. Shag and Scoob have been terrified by this week's crotchety-old-man-dressed-as-monster, and as they attempt to flee, their legs move furiously, but they don't really go anywhere. Throw in a little Three Stooges-esque running into each other and falling down, and you've got a great idea how these games take shape. Needless to say, the boys usually are left scrambling for a hiding spot and must settle for a less than stealthy concealment. Regardless of the flaws in the boys hiding places, it always takes my mom ages to find them. One would think that the uncontrollable giggling would disclose their location. Not a chance. Not with grandma.
And when it is my mom's turn to "Hide," it is truly a a lesson in clandestineness. She has created absolute gems of stealth such as, "A Portion Of Face Behind 1 Foot Square Pillow," and "A Little Bit Of Body Beneath Afghan." True marvels of camouflage. But the boys absolute favorite is, "Head Behind Newspaper While Standing In Open Closet." This cunning maneuver consists of standing in an open closet while concealing her head with an open newspaper held in front of her. At this point I can neither confirm nor deny that she has been been contacted by the CIA regarding the execution of this tactic. I have actually feared that the boys would hyperventilate from laughing so hard when she employs this move.
It's amazing how much can be communicated without words through a simple game. I have studied this process on several occasions, and I have trained my ear to hear the subtle communication. I have found that, when my mom is "Seeking" and is unable to find my rascals right beneath her nose, while she says, "I don't know J. I think they must have run away," she is really speaking to my boys and is saying, "I value your effort. You have done your very best with the resources you have been given and I will honor you for that. I value your creativity and initiative. I am proud of you."
When my mom is "Hiding," and the boys find her with ease and the three of them tumble over each other with laughter, what she is saying to them then is, "Most times the things that bring us the most joy, the most fulfillment aren't 'somewhere out there,' but rather right here in from of you. Being found doesn't mean that I lost, but rather that we all won because we are together. I love you."
As I watch my boys grow, it is evident to me in the people that they are becoming that they have been "listening" to her as intently as I have been.
There are not adequate words to describe the gratitude I have for these lessons learned during Hide and Seek. Thanks Mom.