Parker and Chase, twins age ten are big brothers to Drew age six and Mason age eight. They are the very handsome sons of Dr. Sharon Siebold and Dr. Wade Ritter, both podiatrists. They were in New Jersey for Thanksgiving and
the older kids saw an ad in the paper stating that the first fifty people at the new Dunkin Donuts store would receive a nice big mug and a cup of coffee for free for the fifty-two weeks of the coming year. Mom said she does not drink
coffee anymore; but the boys all nice and kind kids said “we will give it to Pop-Pop for Christmas, as an added other gift we are giving him.” Pop-Pop is their grandfather on their mom’s side.
What dear children they are at this age to think of Pop-Pop and how he would enjoy the coffee and especially it being free and absolutely delicious. I use to love to buy my Mom little trinkets for her birthday and for Chanukah and I would go to the five and ten cent store and actually get her something for maybe a quarter which made it a high end purchase. I use to wrap it in a brown paper lunch bag cut up into wrapping paper and tied a bow on it. I would color with crayons the brown bag paper to make it look more presentable. Mom always raved about the little do-dad I picked out. Usually, it was a pair of clip-on earrings (no pierced ears in those days). She liked colorful ones and big button style. I would take about an hour choosing the one I loved and I knew she would love too. When she passed on and I was already fifty years old, we were cleaning out her possessions and there were two pairs of those inexpensive quarter costing earrings in her jewelry box. Oh how sweet it made me feel, that they still were in her possession and she probably wore them often and even more that they lasted for so many decades.
There used to be aTVprogram started and hosted by Art Linkletter and it was called Kids Say The Darnest Things. He would have a panel of seven, eight and nine year old boys and girls and Art would ask them questions about their life, their family and most of all their lives. It was a live show and you never knew what would come out of their lively young mouths. One kid when asked who his favorite person was, he replied “my Daddy’s girlfriend”. The audience was stunned and so was Art and Art made a joke out of it by saying, I know you are kidding me and the child was smart enough to just smile and say yes. I guess he realized he should not have uttered that word. Another kid said “I hate going to my grandmother’s house to visit. She smokes and it stinks.” Art just dropped that one and went on to the next child for his answer.
After the show was over, the father of the first child came up to Art and said that he and his wife, the child’s mom were divorcing long before he had that girlfriend. Everyone smiled and they were relieved.
Once my daughter-in-law asked Ethan why he was sad that Grammie and Grandpa could not come to visit on the coming Sunday. Ethan then was about five and we thought he would say “because they bring me a present every time.” Instead little smart, darling and handsome Ethan said “because I love them.” These are all intelligent and thoughtful children and everything they say is a gem, especially to their grandparents.
Grandchildren are one of life’s blessings. When my Mom was alive she and her upstairs neighbor Mrs. Rose were always one- upping each other about their grandchildren. Mrs.Rose had a granddaughter who was in her twenties and she was producing a Broadway play. Mom came to tell her than Jeffrey was the star of the sixth grade elementary school play Tom Sawyer. Mrs. Rose tried to one up her and say that her granddaughter was a producer which in her mind was wonderful and it was but so was an eleven year old as the star of the play and many dozens of kids had tried out for it and he and another boy were chosen and they alternated on playing the lead for the four nights of performances. Mom would tell her that she was doing something that weekend real nice and Mrs. Rose always tried to say she was doing something better. It got to the point that Mom would not tell her things, so she could stop going and saying one thing of hers was greater than Mom’s.
If you would tell Mrs.R. that you were flying to China tomorrow, she would tell you that she had been to China last year, which was not so. However, they remained friendly neighbors in just general talking about regular things. Mom got the apartment janitor to give her a nice and new chandelier for over the dining room table. When Mrs.R. saw it, she called up and got one too, though she told Mom hers was prettier and larger than Mom’s. They were exactly alike and the same size.
There are many people like that and this is life. I prefer not to be with them if I can help it. I am always happy for another person’s happiness, whether new or long standing. I never lie about things, the only thing I lied about was when I got new drivers’ license and you put down your weight and I was heavy, I took twenty pounds off of the line on the application. Every five years, I would lie about the current weight and one day about four years ago, I was truly the lighter weight I put down for the first time in my driving history, other than when I was a slim young girl.
So one- upmanship or one- upwomanship is not really harmful, nor is lying about your weight and nor is being utterly and happily proud of your grandchildren and children. If you are relating the truth about how wonderful, smart, gorgeous and dear they are, that is not one- upmanship, it is true upmanship. You can be delighted with your grandkids and that is OK to be UP about it.
Be proud of what you have,what you do and who you are. Because as Ethan said “I love them” and you certainly love them too, up to the sky and then some. That is really being UPS not UPS the delivery service, but Understandably Proud Sincere. You can be one-upping about your grandkids. That is OK sometimes.