Best of times

Best of times

Family can be quite toxic at Thanksgiving, layer my own birthday in there, and there is no way to win. It’s not isolated, and one of the best reminders?

“We’re doing this all over again in about three weeks. Merry Xmas.”

I was (not blood kin) “babysitting” the sister and her younger brother. I’m a go-to grandpa because I come with less emotional baggage. Less attachment, and when I want, I can just hand either kid back. One’s graced my pages, just once as a year in a single image. She is certainly older and has all that attitude.

Along with her younger brother (very Capricorn), my sister and I were “babysitting.” I challenged the three about who might be the most mature, and they all agreed, it wasn’t me. To make it more fun, we took a trip to the arts and crafts store, with lectures from Sister about Science, then Art, and art supplies are always welcome.

True tag-team kiddo-wrangling in the crowded store. I left with one, Sister had the other, and we spent half an hour “shopping.” Looking, asking questions, then looking for the kid who was pushing the cart. Plus I wanted a couple of pencils. Not a collection, just one or two.

Side, side-project, and the pencils themselves were all of about a buck a piece. All I wanted. The kids, and my sister? The little boy started with guns, then toy trucks, but he wound up with “Science.” He wanted a microscope. Test tubes and so forth. “I want to do some science!” Me, I’m a big fan of exploring the world, especially like that. But it’s my sister who was with the kid, and she’s the one with the pedigreed degree in molecular biology.

The other item that little boy grabbed? Various colors of tape, used to make art. “Do you want this,” I asked. I got a definite affirmative since he was going to use to a make art. Not sure he knows how, but I’m all about getting kids raw materials.

His older sister, she was more into Xmas crap — I learned, anything that could be used to decorate, and otherwise celebrate the season, as evidenced by a number of decorations, and then tinsel, in long strands. All in the cart. Several discounted packages of Xmas balls, varying sizes and shade for unknown to me purposes.

We were there for an hour or more. Finally? Headed to the long checkout, the sister got one more idea, and the boy started to bounce, strictly a vertical motion, ricocheting off the end caps. Almost like vibrating. My sister suggested she and the boy run outside for a minute. I was left standing in the line.

In true tag-team fashion, a few minutes later, Sister bounces back with the boy, and he’s got to go to the bathroom, and he can’t use the women’s restroom, so my Sister stands there, and I head to bathroom with the boy.

Eventually, I peed, too, never pass up an opportunity to pee, right? I missed a frantic text from the girls, “Hey, did you put pink tape in the cart?”

Doesn’t everyone use pink duck tape? I do.

That’s what was holding up the check-out process, but we eventually showed up.

It was the indoor, outdoor, tap out, tag in, exchange of supervision duties. Seamless, and faultless. Just a blast, for me, and one of the best recent family memories, no effort required, just swapping back and forth with little people in tow.

All I wanted was a pencil, like a colored pencil? Trip cost near $200, and that was the discounted crap on sale.

Worth every penny. So cool, older brother, younger sister, with older sister and younger brother in tow.

Best of times

“My mom is going to kill me when she’s sees all this stuff!”

Just blame my sister, makes it easier. Besides, it was all genuine gifts, no expectations or goals attached. Give kids raw materials and see what happens.

The tap-out, tag-in with my own sister was what was so much fun. Shared bliss, if only for an afternoon.

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