Behind the Mike
By Michael A. Aun, Special columnist to St. Cloud In The News
Things I have learned from Ashley and Ava
I am fed up with this junk! Getting old stinks, so henceforth, I have decided to start taking a year off of my age every time I have a birthday. Using that math, by the time I am 70, I will own up to being 50. When I am 80, my declared age will be 40. And who cares if nobody is buying it? Age is more about what is between your ears not the number of your years.
If nobody ever kept up with age, it would not be an issue. When you are a kid, you are always rounding your age up. My grandbaby Ashley declares that she is three and one half going on four. You do not hear me being proud of being 60 and one-half going on 61. Ashley brags about her height and weight. You do not hear me bragging about either, especially since I have an abundance of the latter and a shortage of the former.
Ashley has a best buddy at her daycare center named Gabby. My only buddy is my wife, Christine, who barely tolerates me on a good day. I wish I were more like Ashley. I need some buddies. Maybe when I enter adult daycare, I will acquire some.
I am amazed at how smart Ashley and Ava are. They come to visit and we read books together. And God help you if you skip a page. When I visit their house, they show me how to turn on the television set, since I cannot figure out the seven remote controls my son Cory has for the machine. They also show me how to turn on Cory’s computer for me to use when I visit.
Grandchildren have their benefits beyond the fact that they are the most important people in my life. I cannot wait until she is four so she can teach me Excel and show me how to build a website.
Ava and Ashley like the simple things in life. They like it when I am goofy and silly and correct me when I burp or play the “pull my finger” trick. Laughing is the best part of the stuff we do together, especially for Ava, who always cranks it up a notch or two. I wish I were as funny as she thinks I am.
For the most part, they are the happiest children I have ever met, but occasionally they pout and cry, generally when they have to load up and head home. Bribery always works. I go to the freezer and grab a Klondike Bar and all the tears disappear. These girls get their money’s worth out of life. I wish I did.
Ashley and Ava are surrounded by love whether it is Vegas their cat or their mom and dad or their grandparents, both sets of which are close by. Cory is a biology and science teacher at St. Cloud High School and they even have come to love Cory’s pet tarantula named Oprah.
I learned from Ava that I should have a hobby. Her hobby is having me blow up balloons (which she calls balls) to kick around the den. I have learned from Ashley that it is okay to pick up lizards and to play with them.
Ava never met a hamburger she did not like, but Ashley is a bit more picky, or health conscious as she would put it. I guess that is not all bad. That is why she is so slim and trim.
The best part of my time with Ashley and Ava is when they arrive and when they go home. They are genuinely happy to see me. If I am not at home, it is the first question they ask: “Where is Jiddo?” (the Arabic word for grandfather). When they leave (after I have bribed them with the aforementioned Klondike bar), they always tell me bye-bye Jiddo and give me a big wet one.
These are the memories I cherish the most. It is not the number of breaths we take in life; it is these treasured glimpses that forever emblazon themselves in your dreams… the moments that literally take your breath.
After studying my grandchildren extensively, I have learned from Ashley that I should always leave some food on my plate. If I do, I will not get any fatter than I already am.
I have learned from Ava to laugh at everything. Let the good times roll. That is Ava’s mantra. I have also learned that it is okay to release some gas from time to time; it is just uncomfortable to keep it in.
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