You told me over dinner that Grandma has taken you to Chuck E. Cheese like a million times.
You lamented the fact that I have never taken you to Chuck E. Cheese’s since we’ve lived in Florida.
“Yes, well, Grandma is clearly a better parent than me,” I told you.
“Can I move in with Grandma then?” you asked.
I rolled my eyes and shoved another chunk of ground beef into my mouth, refusing to engage you in this recent train of guilt trip.
No, Son. You cannot move in with Grandma.
Because grandmas are for things like Chuck E. Cheese and much too late nights watching movies. Grandmas are for insisting that you are fine when you are climbing on the furniture and helping you scoop out yet another piece of dessert, despite the fact that you refused to eat your dinner.
And all of those things, kid, are wonderful. Although they make you resent your mother like hell – they are perfectly necessary and fabulous requirements for every childhood.
But your grandma will not remind you to brush your teeth. Or send you back into the bathroom to do it again because she has that bizarre sense that tells her that you didn’t do a sufficient job the first time.
Your grandma will not make you shut off the TV and put way the Nintendo DS and force you take your little sister outside to play. She will not tell you that you need to learn to entertain yourselves. She will not tell you that you are in huge, huge trouble if you try to come back in this house one more time in the next five minutes.
She will not make you drag your sister along with you to play with your friends.
She will not make you do your homework and insist that you do it yourself. She will not shake her head when you swear you’ve tried and you don’t get it, mere seconds after pulling a stack of papers from your backpack.
Grandma will not make you clean your room. By yourself. She will not stand firm when you insist that you have no idea where anything goes or believe that you have suddenly developed amnesia about where you just got it out from.
Grandma will take you to Chuck E. Cheese and give you all the tokens you want. She will count down the days until she sees you again and shower you with love and affection and new things.
But she will not lay awake at night, worrying about what kind of man you will grow up to be. She will not obsess about whether or not you’re learning compassion or responsibility or good hygiene. She will not worry if her efforts to raise a good person will be constantly overshadowed by your memories of Chuck E. Cheese.
No, you cannot move in with Grandma.
Because, dear Devin, what you need as much as and even more than a grandma, is your mom.
Deal with it.