Families are complicated. All families have different dynamics. They can be loving. Or there can have strained relationships. Childhood memories with my grandparents are everything to me. While I now have the latter, they can’t change how I feel about the past. Although things aren’t great, there are still memories that I love so much to think back on. And sometimes that does make me feel sad because it’s not like that anymore, but there’s not much I can do about that. So, for this week’s Summer Rewind post, I want to take you back in time to some of my favorite memories at my grandparent’s house.
I’m the baby of my mom’s side of the family, of the four kids, and my brother is the second oldest. We spent so much time at my grandparent’s house when we were little. As many kids do, we loved spending time there. They had a pool, a swing set, my grandpa was hilarious, my grandma gave us a lot of ice cream, and we were definitely a little too spoiled. It was the best.
Let me tell you a story about a chipmunk named Speedy and a raccoon named Ricky…
I mentioned above that my grandpa was hilarious and definitely a storyteller. Some stories we’ll never know if it was true or not. But there was this really fast chipmunk that would constantly run through my grandparent’s yard. Naturally, my grandpa named him Speedy. Speedy ran through the yard all the time. I was extremely timid of animals when I was little. I didn’t even really like dogs – I know. So, I really think that my grandpa would come up with all these names for animals to make it more fun than worrisome for me. And it worked. I would get so excited when I would see Speedy speeding through the yard and I would ask my grandpa where he was if I hadn’t seen him for a while.
My grandpa also had these knickknacks in his office, and one of them was of a raccoon that we deemed Ricky the Raccoon. Before my grandpa passed away, he gave me that little statue and I still have it. Now, call me crazy, but I believe in signs and that ghosts/spirits exist. I still believe that my grandpa is around me. Don’t believe me? There was one time, about almost two years ago, that I asked for a sign from my grandpa to show me that he was still here. I hadn’t seen a chipmunk in literally years, so I asked him to send me one.
Don’t worry, be happy and take me to the river
The next day, when I was walking a couple of blocks to my car from working on my campus, I was feeling stressed and worried about school. However, I was stopped right in my tracks by a chipmunk just sitting in the middle of the sidewalk before it scampered off. It sounds crazy but it was so comforting and brought me to tears. It brought me back to all the summers we would see Speedy flying through the yard (even though I now know it probably wasn’t ever the same chipmunk) and that even though summers with them seem like a lifetime ago, it wasn’t all that long ago.
My grandpa also really loved fishing. All the other grandchildren got to go except me before he passed away, and it makes me sad but again, there’s really nothing I can do about that. I never wanted to go fishing with just anyone after he passed. It had to be someone special and someone who would understand how important and meaningful this simple activity was to me. I need someone to know that it wasn’t really about fishing and more connecting to my grandpa. So, I still haven’t ever been fishing. But my grandpa used to have one of those Big Mouth Billy Bass that sang Take Me to the River and Don’t Worry, Be Happy. I would overplay that fish so much and now those songs hold so much weight for me and I love them.
Sleepovers at Grandma’s
Sleepovers with my grandparents were the best of the best. It was truly my paradise because I was there for a week, I didn’t have to share their attention with my cousins or brother, I got to eat whatever I wanted that my mom didn’t want me to eat, and it was endless days of fun. One of my favorite moments was when my grandparents took me took the park to play and have a picnic. I ate my ham and cheese Lunchable with a Caprisun, obviously. After I was done eating it was time to play. I wanted to play hide-and-seek. So, my grandma and I counted while my grandpa hid.
My grandpa liked to play tricks and he definitely wasn’t going to go easy on me with hide-and-seek. He put his baseball hat on a bush to make me think he hid there. I don’t remember where I actually ended up finding him, but I still remember being excited about finding his hat because I thought that meant I had found him. I didn’t.
Another great thing about going to their house was that you got to request anything you wanted to eat, but you had to eat. My grandma would take me to Jewel to pick out whatever cereal I wanted for breakfast, donuts, snacks, and I got to choose what we would have for dinner; I would always choose spaghetti, garlic bread, and chocolate milk. Then the days would consist of swimming, running errands, and trips to the dollar store and the mall. Myself, Danny, and my cousins were all spoiled equally but my brother and I never expected to be spoiled and love them regardless of that.
Basically, there was nothing like spending the week with my grandma and grandpa.
I was convinced I was Ariel
Now, Ariel from The Little Mermaid isn’t even my top favorite Disney princess, Cinderella is. When my grandma lived in her old house my mom would take us swimming there. I was a true fish. I swam until I couldn’t swim anymore. They had to convince me to get out of the pool to eat and check every so often if I had to use the bathroom. I would swim even if no one else wanted to get in because it was too cold, but I wouldn’t admit that I was cold even if I was asked. I would say no through my blue lips and chattering teeth. But we did get to eat popsicles and ice cream sandwiches in the pool.
My grandparents had these rafts that had little dips in them. And I would fill them with water and pretend I was making cupcakes. I would also go underwater and come back up like I was Ariel. Then when it would get too hot, my mom would make my brother and I put on baby bucket hats essentially and a white t-shirt so we wouldn’t burn too much despite all the sunscreen we were slathered with prior to going in.
No, seriously Kellie, you have to get out…
It took me forever to get out of the pool when we had to leave. But at least when we were drying off, we got to play on the swingset. When Daddy Daycare came out, my brother and I loved it and would recreate this scene so much. Until one of us got hurt or mad and started arguing.
Then we would get in the car and head home and we would pass out on the drive home. There really wasn’t anything better than that. I honestly miss it so much and wish I could go back in time. Which is honestly the point of this series. It is to transport me, and you, back in time before we were forced to be adults.
Things in my family aren’t the same. But what they can’t change is how much I love my childhood memories and past with them. I genuinely can’t wait until I can give my future children a great childhood like mine. No, I still can’t go underwater without plugging my nose. Yes, I still love the smell of chlorine. No, I don’t swim nearly as often as I would like to. Yes, I’m still my inner five-year-old self when I get to go swimming or do anything with water. And yes, I still love my grandparents with my whole heart.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories with grandparents or other relatives?