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    « Sense and nonsense | Main | BlogHer '11, Boomers, and a bang-up ending »

    Make-believe Gramma

    A morning on the patio with Bubby in May.

    At three years old, Bubby's imagination has blossomed. He delights in playing games of pretend, all make-believe and all played according to his rules.

    One of Bubby's favorites is playing Fireman—usually with a policeman hot on the fireman's tail, for some unknown reason. When I'm visiting, I'm assigned the policeman role more often than not. In the role, according to Bubby's rules, I'm to chase Bubby the Fireman around and around while making a "police" noise dictated by Bubby, one impossible for me to replicate in writing.

    Bubby also loves, loves, LOVES playing Water Monster at the Splash Pad. Some days Daddy is assigned the role of Water Monster; sometimes it's Mommy. In that game, the Water Monster chases Bubby all around the Splash Pad (or whatever water park they may be at), threatening to dump buckets of water on Bubby...who does his best to avoid the buckets yet squeals in delight when it (inevitably) happens.

    This past week or so, Megan says, Bubby has devised a new game. And it stars me, or at least Megan pretending to be me. It's called The Gramma Game.

    Before describing the game, here's a little background relative to the play. When I visit, Bubby and I typically start our day with some time on the patio—my only opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before the oppressive desert heat renders me housebound. I relax in a chair, cup of coffee in hand, while Bubby rides his trike around the patio, us chit-chatting back and forth all the while.

    That minor yet clearly meaningful to him ritual has led to The Gramma Game. It goes like this: When Megan returns from her daily early morning run, she cools down on the patio for a few minutes. That's when Bubby joins her and proclaims "Let's play The Gramma Game. You be the Gramma and I'll be the Grandkid." He directs Megan to gaze out a pretend window and say, "I wonder where my Grandkid is. I miss him." Then when Bubby the Grandkid comes into view, she's to say "Oh, you're here, Grandkid! I missed you!"

    ("He's very specific about my actions, telling me what I should be doing or saying," Megan says, in explaining The Gramma Game.)

    After exclaiming over how much Gramma has missed the Grandkid, Gramma gets to watch Bubby the Grandkid ride his trike—not the big-boy bike used for real rides—around and around on the patio. Just like the real Gramma does while visiting. Pretend Gramma/Megan watches enthusiastically until Bubby the Grandkid gets off his trike and asks Gramma if there's any "brefast in the pantry" because he's hungry.

    Words can't describe how honored I am to have a game named after me. Nor can they describe how excited I am to soon be there to play it with Bubby. Only three more days and The Gramma Game will come to life. No more pretend, no more gazing out a window, no more missing my grandkid. Reality is so much better than the game.

    In most cases.

    There is one aspect of the game, though, that is indeed so much better than the reality. In The Gramma Game, Megan says, Bubby makes it clear he doesn't have to get on a plane to visit Gramma, he has only to ride his trike to reach me.

    Ah, I would give anything for the reality to be as simple as the make-believe.

    In reality, though, what I do give is thanks for the planes that bring Bubby to me and me to Bubby.

    And for only three more days.

    Today's question:

    What games of make-believe do you recall from your childhood or those of your children?

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    Reader Comments (15)

    First of all, once again, you bring a little tear to my eyes. I wish you could be closer to your grandchildren as well. They are so blessed to be so loved by you.

    We played so many childhood games. I loved dress up with my friend, about age 4. Her mother let us wear her formals. They were much too big, as were her high heels but we didn't care.

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMer

    My brother and i lived in our imaginations. We sewed clothes for the tooth fairies, daydreamed we were very very small, and built secret tunnels in our bedroom that took us to other worlds.
    My grandsons, on the other hand, came in the other day with baggies full of sugar and fake guns the other day. They were playing drug dealer. What ever happened to cops and robbers?

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Lunn

    How cute is Bubby's Gramma game! Love it!
    Abe and his friend Larry used to play "Starsky and Hutch" when they were around 8. It stared from Larry's Mom (my best friend Mary) saying how much the boys looked like a child version of the famous duo. That's all it took. Before you knew it, they had an imaginary fast car and went on lots of adventures. It's was fun watching their antics!

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

    My boy's grew up in Germany. We took them to loads of ruins and castles. We had a favorite ruin, Runnin Frauenberg, we picnicked there at least once a week (even in winter, we were nuts!). The boy’s after lunch would tear through the forest as knights in shining armor storming the castle, saving the damsel in distress (me) from the big bad Baron (dad). Now my oldest is at the same Air Base where he grew up teaching his son the fine art of being a knight in shining armor. Gram can not wait to go play the damsel in distress again!

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLorinda

    What a precious little guy. Obviously you are an important part of his life.

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

    It must be gratifying for you to have been the inspiration for the "Gramma Game" with that sweet little boy wanting to relive visits with you.

    I remember so many pretend games all you kids played, especially how I decorated a cardboard box "play-house" with wallpaper and carpet samples I'd begged from work. You were especially complimentary about how absolutely beautiful that little "house" turned out.

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Aw, this is so sweet, Lisa! Bubby obviously misses you too, and this is his way to feel close to you when you are gone. In his mind you are probably just a bike ride away :)

    Have a wonderful time with your grand boys!

    As a child I love to be an Indian and I would make a bow and arrow out of sticks and try to walk so quietly that no one could hear me :) I also loved to play "house' with my dolls. "Let's pretend" was a favorite way to begin a sentence back in the childhood days:)

    How adorably sweet. I love this post.

    Kaylee makes me play all sorts of games that I forget the names of, but one of them is "the running game" where I chase her around the living room, growling like a monster, and then scoop her up, take her back to my monster lair (the couch) and pretend to eat her. She always manages to get away, though, meaning the game could last for hours if I were capable of running that long.

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

    I grew up surrounded by very mature citrus groves that my family owned. In the deserts of Arizona we played in the shade of those trees all year long. Everyone (the kids from the block) pretended that the trees were our individual homes. We drew lines in the dirt to form rooms, climbed their limbs to second floors and lookouts. All kinds of stuff got hauled out to the grove. The leaves provided unlimited pretend cash too!

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Shelley

    My daughter grew up knowing that she had a half-sister *somewhere* and until she was at least 10 all of her games involved her (invisible) sister! She finally met her when she was 20.

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Once again Lisa a beautiful post, the love for each other shines through this post. Enjoy your time with him.

    For a moment you allowed me to re-enter my childhood when life was easy. At night my darling brother Michael (5 years older than I am) would come into my room at night when I was meant to be going to sleep, he would sit on the bed beside me, reach into his imagination and tell me a story about "Sammy and Brutus" two dogs that had the most fantastic adventures.

    Now I watch our granddaughter reach into her imagination and play some wonderful games. Before we got Samantha Jan (black lab) she would take her for walks, make her sit and make her lie down, Samantha was never left at home she came everywhere with us. She loves to play mothers with her babies and especially breast feeding them.

    August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    This makes me so grateful to be only two hours away from our little princesses. I can jump in the car and be there pretty quickly. It also proves that you are a meaningful part of Bubby's everyday life even though you are many miles away.

    Make-believe Gramma is really a great real-life Gramma. Bubby gets that.

    July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Valenta

    Oh Lisa! I remember the first time I read this post and I think I enjoyed it even more this time, maybe because I *know* you and Bubby better now. So does Baby Mac now participate in the Gramma Game? Did they both have a wonderful time with Gramma last week for other games?! I can't wait to hear all about it. Hope you are still surviving the smoke.

    July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    This one brought a tear to my sweet ! He must have been missing you so much...

    July 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdebra

    Awww so sweet! My oldest grand daughter some times like to play as if she were the grandma and I was the grand child, but she didn't have a name for it. Their imaginations ae so wonderful.

    July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

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