On the perks of being the grandparent


The Voice from Veteran

The key to world peace is grandkids. If enough of the world leaders had grandkids they wouldn’t have time to create their own mischief, they’d be too busy cleaning up after their grandkid’s mischief. Or they’d be too sick to care.
My wife and I came to the rescue of our daughter and son-in-law a couple of weekends ago, when everyone in their household entered CDC’s biosafety level 3 contamination, but we were totally unprepared for the viral onslaught that awaited us on the other side of the front door.
Besides the coarse, fluid-filled hacking coughs and the constant sniffling and snorting of spent snot, what surprised me the most was the amount of mucus that two, day-school aged children could generate. Mounds of it. Piles of it. Unending flows of it from every orifice imaginable. When they cried, their tear ducts burst with mucus. When they sneezed it became airborne. Our granddaughter’s upper lip was constantly encrusted with the goo, and the harder we wiped the more it poured forth.
Yellow mucus, green mucus, clear mucus. It was everywhere. Even the dogs were covered in it. The living room looked like a scene from Ghostbusters when the poltergeists go on a slime spree.
We quickly realized we were severely under armed and if we were to have any hope of staving off a complete takeover by these gooey legions of phlegm we would need reinforcements. Lots of reinforcements. Rubber gloves, masks, plastic bibs, more masks, cough syrup, children’s Tylenol, more gloves, alcohol for sterilization, medicinal alcohol of the 50 proof variety, Lysol spray and more masks and gloves soon filled several shopping carts at the neighborhood pharmacy.
We depleted the supplies at three different pharmacies before we felt we had the right amount of munitions to carry out a successful campaign. I’m sure it looked as though we were heading to some far off exotic continent to fight an Ebola outbreak, which, believe me, would have been preferable to the carnage that waited for us at our daughter’s house.
Encased in our makeshift haz-mat suits, we blew noses, wiped bottoms, refilled juice glasses, hugged the miserable, filled vaporizers and endlessly changed channels, DVDs and game cartridges. After the third day of hand-to-hand battle, and supply lines running dangerously short, the tide began to shift.
Our daughter read a book to our grandson, our son-in-law changed our granddaughter’s diaper and the wads of tissue paper actually began to recede enough the floor became visible again.
But, by the fifth day, I couldn’t get out of my recliner, a persistent cough had ignited a headache, and little puddles of mucus are oozing from my nose.
On the sixth day, at least I think it was the sixth day, my orifices were pouring so much phlegm I needed waders to get across the kitchen floor.
I have no recollection of days seven, eight and nine.
I’m OK now. I can tell because the mucus cocoon encasing my mustache has just about dissolved and my cough has a more human quality to it, rather than the surreal roar that peeled plaster off our living room walls.
But you other grandparents out there know what I mean when I say I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Now they need me, they enjoy my grandfatherly intrusion. In a few years I’ll just be another embarrassment. So for now, I’ll just enjoy the perks of being a grandparent whenever and however I can get them.

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