My sources say that parents should converse with their children to help them develop. Allegedly, Search and Destroy already recognize my voice from the non-stop babble they heard constantly in the womb. Now, as they need all the extra developmental abilities as we can provide, I deduced that they would benefit from story telling.
When we were young, my brother and I used to look forward to hearing a â€œGrandma storyâ€ every time she came to visit. Grandma (henceforth known as G.G. for Great-Grandma) would forego reading any book at bedtime. Instead, she would sit in the hallway between our two rooms and tell us stories about her past (of course including all friends and relatives affected by the detailed events).
I sat in the NICU, holding Destroyâ€™s hand,
telling him how much I love him and how much everyone in our extended family and friend network is rooting for him. (Tremendously shmoopy, I know. Tough cookies.) And it occurred to me, that perhaps heâ€™d like to hear one of our most famous family stories.
As previously noted, Searchâ€™s middle name, Welker, is G.G.â€™s maiden name. This was done on purpose. Destroyâ€™s middle name, Anthony, means â€œpricelessâ€ and seemed to mesh with how we felt about our boys. Completely unbeknownst to us, Anthony is also Great-great Uncle Johnâ€™s middle name (G.G.â€™s little brother). The most requested family story â€“ across many branches and generations â€“ is the story of little Johnnyâ€™s trip to Blue Jay.
G.G. is the third child of four â€“ the only girl, with two older brothers and a younger one. (G.G. is also the only kid with blue eyes, thereby spending much of her young life convinced she was adopted. She wasnâ€™t, nor is this point really relevant to the story.) The Welkerâ€™s often spent summers in Lake Gregory, a small town in the San Bernardino Mountains. G.G. was a sun worshipper â€“ perfectly content to spend the lazy days on the lake in search of the perfect tan. Her older brothers occupied their time finding various ways to torture G.G. and/or create other manners of mischief. (For Harry Potter fans, I have always envisioned older brothers Bill and Ray as the muggle version of Fred and George Weasely.)
On one particular summerâ€™s day, G.G.â€™s mom promised the family that if everyone behaved, sheâ€™d take them all up to Blue Jay for popsicles later in the day. (Blue Jay is another small town about six miles north of Lake Gregory.) Little Johnny, the youngest, was extremely keen on the popsicle proposal. But sadly, without the teenage girl motivation to lay out or the teenage boy dexterity to cause trouble without getting into it, the task of making sure his mom didnâ€™t forget her promise fell to him.
Throughout the day, Johnny followed his mom around. (Please read each of the following quotations with a bit of a whine.) As she completed some of her housework, he asked, â€œIs it time to go to Blue Jay?â€ As she finished some chores out on the dock of the lake, he inquired, â€œWhen are we going to Blue Jay?â€ He followed her around all day, questioning, â€œWhen are we gonna go to Blue Jay??? I want my popsicle!â€
After a very repetitive 5-6 hours, momâ€™s patience was running low. Finally, the last of her reserves was depleted. Little Johnny wailed, â€œI wanna go to Blue Jay!!!â€ That was it. This behavior was ending NOW.
Johnnyâ€™s mom whirled around in a fury.
â€œI wanna go to Bluâ€¦â€
She grabbed him by the arm, stunning him into a brief silence. â€œYou want to go to Blue Jay? Youâ€™re GOING to Blue Jay.â€ Mom stormed off with little Johnny flying in her wake. His little feet werenâ€™t even touching the ground.
Legend has it Mom kept up this pace all the way to Blue Jay. So Johnny did, in fact, make it to Blue Jay that day. But as G.G. always notes with a wry smile, â€œI donâ€™t think he ever got his popsicleâ€¦â€
Destroy was calm for a moment, enjoying the story and the boundaries set by my touch. Stay healthy little one! G.G. is looking forward to meeting you, and oh, the stories youâ€™ll hear. Gramma J has big shoes to fill â€“ but Iâ€™m sure sheâ€™s got some priceless stories about Uncle Paul and me.