By Jerry Zezima
If I have learned anything since becoming a grandfather, aside from the fact that diaper bags can be a great way to pull jokes on unsuspecting strangers, it is that time flies when you’re having grandkids.
As proof of just how fast life whizzes past, my grandson, Xavier, will celebrate his first birthday tomorrow. Next week, my granddaughter Chloe will turn 5. And her little sister, Lilly, isn’t so little anymore because she’s almost a year and a half old.
This stuff happens every time you turn around. So here is a valuable grandparenting tip: Don’t turn around. Not only will you hold time at bay, but you won’t become disoriented and walk into a wall, which will, I know from experience, amuse your grandchildren.
I did this recently when my wife, Sue, and I visited Xavier, whom we have seen only a handful of times because he lives almost 300 miles away. Chloe and Lilly, on the other hand, live about 25 miles away and, on frequent visits to our house or when we go to theirs, never fail to be amused when I turn around and walk into a wall.
Still, the question is: Where does time go?
I believe it goes into the Federal Witness Protection Program. I also think time has frequent flier miles, so it probably goes to the Caribbean. And it doesn’t even have the decency to send us postcards.
Speaking of flying, that’s what Sue and I did when we visited Xavier, who is, I can proudly say, the smartest and most mature person in Washington, D.C.
We were picked up at the airport by our older daughter, Katie, who is Xavier’s mommy. She and Xavier’s daddy, Dave, were going out of town on business later that day, which meant Sue and I would be babysitting Xavier overnight. We often FaceTime, but we hadn’t seen him in person since the holidays.
“I hope he remembers us,” Sue said.
“I hope he remembers my Three Stooges routines,” I added, referring to our previous visit, when Xavier giggled uncontrollably at my Shemp imitations.
We had nothing to worry about. Xavier loved being with us. He still giggled when I did Shemp, chortled when I gobbled like a turkey while changing his diaper and laughed even harder when I turned around and walked into a wall.
“He’s gotten so big,” Sue remarked.
“This is what happens to kids when you feed them,” I said as I fed Xavier in his highchair (he was in it, not me, though I should have been since I acted more like a baby during our five-day visit than he did).
That was amply evident when, after Katie returned, she, Xavier, Sue and I went to the Smithsonian.
Katie put Xavier in an Ergo, a baby carrier she wore with him facing forward so he could see what was going on. Sue carried the purses. I had the diaper bag.
When we got to the entrance, a museum guard welcomed Katie and said hello to Xavier, who smiled. Then she greeted Sue and inspected the purses. As I stepped up, I opened what I was carrying and said, “It’s a diaper bag. At my age, it comes in handy.”
The woman blanched. Then she broke into a broad grin and said, “I can see who the real child is here.”
We had a great day at the museum, which Xavier loved. He even won friends and influenced people in the gift shop.
The next day, Dave got home, which made the rest of our visit even better.
As we were leaving, Sue and I kissed Xavier and wished him a happy first birthday.
“You’re growing up fast,” Sue told him.
I gobbled like a turkey, which made him laugh again. Then I flapped my arms and repeated the phrase that grandparents know so well: “Time flies.”
Copyright 2018 by Jerry Zezima