Labor Day has a dual meaning this year. First, it gives me a chance to write about work, meaningful or not. I have lately read several articles about vocation in the very traditional sense: to paraphrase Bill Buckley, 'more in due course'. Second, Labor Day this year is the day before Aaron's birthday....which, seven years ago, made it labor day for Ann and Matt.
Or, in their case, not really labor day. The doctors tried, oh how they tried. But 'twas not to be. This was my first experience at the other end of the phone line from the soon-to-be dad at the hospital. And, as the grandma-to-be, not nearly enough information was forthcoming from down there in St. Joe. Blake and I lay awake, not peacefully, until the phone rang at 12:30 with the blessed news that Aaron Matthew Schlueter was out amongst us now and everyone was going to be fine.
Ben was still in high school and 2003 was back in the day when Tarkio parked cars. Lee and I had mums to water. We knew the new family needed some rest, but it was tough to wait it out. Blake and Ben took off at o-dark-thirty and I rushed downstairs to the basement where my new baby banner was ready to be painted. Out came the red and black spray paint in honor of this new Tiger/Husker hybrid. I was so excited that I committed the cardinal sin of sign painting: I left out a letter. Aaron Mathew.....rats! Nothing to be done but put a little superscript 't' in its place....I didn't want all of Tarkio to mispell the kid's name before he even got home!!
It had been a long time since we'd done all the chores associated with a little baby. But, out came previously used blankets, afghans, a playpen, my mother's high chair. In addition I got a whole new bundle of boodle thanks to a grandma shower given by loving family and friends. Whew! The activity of grandma-hood was wonderful, but settling into that generation took some getting used to. The most difficult challenge was the car seat. Lydia and Ann put it in the car the first time. As far as I could see, the car seat was a wild beast that took two intelligent and athletic women to subdue it. From that day forward, I did not remove the car seat except under the greatest duress and necessity. It was a great day when Mr. Aaron got too large for that infant seat and graduated to a new green one that I could handle! The blue car seat lived in Lee's basement for several years; when Ann saw it back among the living, she gave me explicit permission to ditch the thing.
How wonderful it has been to resurrect all the toys and activities associated with little boys! Out came the Brio trains when Aaron was about six months old. He was perfectly happy to sit on my lap and watch me pick up 'cargo' with the little magnetic crane or run the train cars up and over the viaduct bridge. Baths, a utilitarian activity at home, stretched into long and involved play times with spoons, cups, sponges and squirting frogs. Out came the books...Thomas the Train, McDuff, Smoky the old engine, Hobo Dog. The advantage of hanging out here at night was the opportunity to fall asleep in a coccoon of blankets and pillows downstairs on the big leather chair...right across the room from an equally sleepy Grandpa on the big leather couch.
As befits a son of cooks, Aaron has helped make many loaves of bread for the bread machine. He got the scariest bump of his young life from the seat of a stool in my kitchen while helping me. I called his mom and dad, heavy hearted about the gigantic black and blue knob on the little boy's noggin. He has planted seeds in the garden, raised gourds under his play set, brought flowers home for his mom, pushed the buttons on the transplanter, carried mums, delivered plants, waited on customers. He knows his way around Hurst Greenery as well as he knows the Bluffs. He has ridden in tractors with his uncle Ryan, one combine with one Grandpa....and, when he has a chance, thrown that combine and grandpa over for the other grandpa's combine with a bigger "tv" screen.
It doesn't seem like that many years since I stepped on Legos. Or built with my old blocks. Or bought Matchbox and HotWheel cars. Or sat in the sun at a T ball game.
Its great to be doing it all again.....Happy Birthday Aaron....