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?