January 15, 2011 10:26:00 PM
You think the Christmas holidays can cause stress -- try having the first grandchild on both sides. I was reminded of this back before Christmas in conversation with a proud father who, like me, had fathered the crown prince ... royalty if there ever was such a thing.
When Number One made his spring arrival, grandparent''s access to the throne was never a problem. That is, until gift-bearing season came around.
I asked my friend what his plans were for Christmas. I couldn''t help but laugh. He looked away. I could tell he was reviewing every last mile and stop for the umpteenth time in his mind. My advice to him: Stay home and invite everybody over, covered dish required.
That''s what we did after our prince''s first Christmas. I wanted mine to wake up in their own house, gather around their own Christmas tree and take to their own streets on their new bicycles.
A few weeks before Christmas, Only Daughter and Distant Third Favorite Child graced us with a brief visit. I like to cook but find it much easier of late to take advantage of our ever-increasing choices of good places to eat. I made the night out a "command performance," meaning Number One and Two sons had to adjust their plans accordingly.
I chose Huck''s. It gets thumbs up from me. It''s not only a good place to eat, it''s a fun place. It favors good, loud and lively conversation. That fits our family perfectly. Be forewarned, Huck''s is a pretty popular eatery, and more often than not, there''s a 30 to 45 minute wait. For me, that''s not a problem. It gave us an opportunity to enjoy a beer and mix and mingle with a lot of old friends who, like us, enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
The "what are we doing for Christmas" subject came up in conversation. For some reason we always wait to the very last minute to plan anything. I never like having this discussion; my stress meter was starting to red line. It reminded me of Christmases past.
I am blessed with three pretty good kids who will likely find mates. Hopefully, before I go on to my great reward, they will bless me with an average to above-average grandchild. Odds are that one of their mates will have parents who, like theirs, sadly, are divorced. Odds also favor one of them will bring forth royalty.
I always look for the path of least resistance. A light came on as we got deeper into our Christmas planning. I allowed that I was going to give up all rights to Christmas. I would never be a factor for them to consider when making their Christmas plans.
I asked them to commit to our getting together over the Easter weekend every year. The weather''s nice, food''s easy. Ham and deviled eggs and playing Easter Bunny and hiding Easter eggs is a heckuva lot less stressful than hours spent fighting the crowds at the Wal-Mart and Toys ''R'' Us.
I didn''t forget Thanksgiving. My request? If any of them were having a special lunch or dinner, an invitation to join them would be appreciated; however, I never wanted to overhear the conversation, "I had the old coot last Thanksgiving -- you got him this year."
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.
4. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS