The tenth of August is my brother’s birthday. This year, like many years before, we’re apart for this celebration. Of course, as a kid, I couldn’t get away from it, which wasn’t all bad. It was a time marker saying that the end of the carefree days of summer would soon be here.
Until I was in high school, the tenth of August was spent having a meal on the patio or a picnic in the park. This was followed by an evening of absolute ecstasy at one of two amusement parks, Lakeside or Elitche’s.
Our father couldn’t always be with us on this day because of his job. During the years before either of us were in junior high school (now called middle school), trying to keep both of us happy at one of these parks would have been impossible for my mom to contend with by herself. In addition, neither of these parks was in, what I would consider, a safe neighborhood.
However, the grandparents never missed this day with us. Looking back, I would say that having at least three adults for the games and rides was what made my brother’s birthday so special. Neither one of us had to wait for the other one. We were allowed to flutter around from ride to ride to game, and back to ride just as we pleased because each one always had a loving adult tagging along.
You could say that my brother and I were close to our grandparents, at least our paternal ones. They were available for us almost 24/7. When my parents wanted to go out with friends, the grandparents were there to babysit us. Whenever something special was going on with one of us at school, they, along with our parents would be there to see it happen and to give us praise. And, of course, no holiday was complete without them being there.
Back then, I didn’t think too much about the lavish attention I got. I assumed all kids got what I did and maybe even a little more. I figured grandparents were part of the deal of being a kid.
Ignorance is bliss.
I finally woke up to what my world really was back then when I was in junior high school. Being exposed to more kids, and most of them coming from families with higher incomes than my family, had gave me lessons on what is important in life.
I found out that many kids didn’t spend any time with grandparents. Their world was all about money and possessions. Their sense of family was minimal at best.
My grandparents have passed away since those glorious times. Nevertheless, when a special day comes up on my calendar, I still think of them and the love they always brought with them.