My grandparents gave me my first job. Every other Saturday, I’d go over and clean their house, enjoy a lunch that typically consisted of boiled hot dogs with sliced bread, read through the Almonte Gazette and the EMC from that week, and occasionally have a nap with my grandfather – he on his blue couch, and me on mine.
I was paid $10 each time I went over to clean (woohoo!), but honestly, it wasn’t the money that I earned that had me going back every other weekend. I learned so much about life from these two people who loved me, our family and each other unconditionally.
My grandfather and I would talk about his time serving in World War II, and my grandmother would teach me how to make things with plastic canvas, bake (okay maybe she just let me supervise the dessert making and sample for health and safety reasons), and when I was paying attention, how to knit mittens and sew.
They were always patient with me, even on my crankiest of days, and always ALWAYS ensured the pickle supply never ran out (they also never ratted me out for sneaking pickles or olives or cheese or meat before a family dinner cause I was hungry and too impatient to wait).
One thing I loved, and is a tradition I’d like to continue with the little ones in my family as I outgrow being one of the little ones myself, was the sibling gift bag on birthdays. There wasn’t a single year that would go by as we were growing up, not a single birthday missed, that the two who weren’t celebrating a birthday didn’t have a sibling gift bag. They’d contain mostly school supplies and unmentionables, with the occasional toy – this is what happens with two birthdays at the start of the school year and one right before Christmas.
If I could be even half the awesome that these two were, I think I’d be mostly set for life.