Monday, February 16, 2015


Griffin Henry (age 2) related his personal opinion of me. “YaYa mean!” 

I sighed.

“Don’t fall in the fire pit, little boy, with the fluffly, white hair and polyester shirt.” That was it; that’s what I had said to earn my grandson’s disdain. For that I was called names. 

I’m the YaYa. I’m the mean one. My husband (the Poppy) is the family celebrity. Of course, he’s the guy with endless supplies of Twix and Pepsi, the guy who lets the grandchildren run wild through our lives.

I walked into the office to find a phalanx of children taping away at an endless line of computers. They were playing something called “Animal Jam” or “AJ” in the vernacular. Poppy sat in the middle of the tapping frenzy, tossing chocolate kisses to grandchildren like a walrus trainer at Sea World. Shoulders had started hunch, spines to curve.

I shouted, “Okay, that’s it. Everybody outside. Get some vitamin D. Attempt to straighten your backbones. Go. Go.”

“Poo-poo, YaYa!” Griffin Henry said. Poo-poo. It’s the worst word he knows—so far.

Later, I discover the lot of them at the sand hill. They’d dug a giant hole, run a garden hose to it, and filled it to the brim with water. It was like a massive open strip mine. Kids blasted each other with water and mud. I estimated the cleanup would require two hours and a Shop Vac.

“Who said you could turn that water on?”

“Poppy!” they chorused. 

“Poo-poo, Poppy,” I muttered to myself.

My husband is the celebrity. He never says no, agrees with every wild scheme, finances every whim, and bribes with goodies. He’s the president cutting the fool on Buzz Feed. Me? I’m the libertarian saying, “Sure. Sure. You refused to wear your shoes, stepped on stinging thistles that you were warned about, and now what are YOU going to do about that?”

“YaYa mean!”

Recently, our fourteen grandchildren came pouring into our house saying, “Hi. Where’s Poppy?”

Sighing, I pointed and said, “In the office. Throw away your candy wrappers.” They stampeded. 

I went to find the Shop Vac.

Linda (Mean as a Snake) Zern

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