The Full Suburban: foam balls and a pioneering book club? Everything for granny

I could hear the silent cries as loud as a freight train echoing off the walls of my Christmas-dressed living room. They were from my sisters-in-law and I watching in horror as our sons snatch Christmas presents from their grandmother, my stepmother Debbie.

“It’s so awesome! One of them exclaimed.

“Look at all that ammunition!” Another shouted.

I stifled a sob. My sisters-in-law and I crossed our eyes, mouths wide open, unable to handle the chaos that was about to be unleashed upon us by this gift from Granny, who was sitting benevolently across the room and beaming with love. joy to the joy of her grandsons.

The gift she had chosen for this set of 4-9 year old grandsons were plastic Nerf-type pistols, each loaded with at least 20 rounds of 1-inch foam bullets of “ammo.” It was an Amazon special that I had seen earlier in the week but wisely ignored, thinking, “I have no chance of buying this!” Think about all the balls everywhere!

And now we were here in my living room with havoc left and right. I quickly did the math: two guns per boy, times six boys, times 20 rounds per gun, equivalent to endless foam bullets thrown around my floor for the foreseeable future.

“It’s just… I can’t believe how many little round balls are about to be all over my house,” I said to Annie, who was sitting next to me, her eyes similarly glassy. . Her silent cry was fierce, but no one could approach mine because unbeknownst to Grandma half of these little boys were about to have a sleepover at my house.

I thought I was a nasty aunt and stifled their fun with a quick announcement that there would be no gun game that night, and if they kindly left their guns in their tidy packaging until they returned. at their place, we would continue our evening as planned.

But before I could say a word, a nephew tore up his box. Then another. And another. Before I knew it, there were little boys everywhere popping annoying round foam balls all over my living room and kitchen.

“Make sure you mark your balls with your initials,” Grannie shouted across the room, prompting at least three of her rascal sons (my husband included) to burst into laughter. I mean, it’s not his first rodeo. She herself raised five rowdy boys (and two angelic girls) – didn’t she know how chaotic her gift would be?

Yes, yes, she did. But for Grandma, delighting her grandchildren takes precedence over everything. And even with bullet after bullet whistling past my head, I couldn’t help but love him for it.

These kids adore their grandmother, and she loves them. She works hard to develop and maintain a special relationship with each of them, and as a result, I’m pretty sure any of her 34 grandchildren would do anything for her.

The day after the foam bullet guns were handed out, she met some of her granddaughters for their monthly book club, which has been meeting regularly for over a year. Book of the month was “This Is My Words,” a fictional journal written with the voice of a pioneer in the Arizona territories in the late 1800s. Grandma arrived in full cowgirl dress with a scarf , overalls and a cowboy hat.

“Where are your costumes, girls?” She asked when she saw that only one of her teenage granddaughters had made an effort to don the pioneer habit. The other girls quickly scrambled to find aprons, hats and scarves and within minutes they were ready to join in on their book club chat. Everything for Grandma!

Grandma had brought a small gift bag for each girl filled with trinkets and treats. Their discussion of the book lasted about 45 minutes and then they enjoyed a very authentic pioneer brunch of muffins, scrambled eggs and honeydew. The girls felt loved, heard and cared for, and once again Granny was in her element.

Which brings me back to the 90 million foam balls thrown all over my house. I’ll be happy to whip up a bowl and point it out for the rounded stray balls on the floor if that means my kids – and Logan and I, too – will be able to enjoy a relationship with Grannie. It’s pure gold, and all the foam bullets in the world can’t change a thing.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children, and a random menagerie of farm animals in the Spokane Valley. She can be reached at [email protected]

Lee J. Murillo