Wretched Excess

If I had to pick one symbol of what cracks me up most about grandparents, it would be this gift my kids received for Christmas.

It’s not only a candy jar, stuffed full of sweet, sticky, colorful goodies, it has a MOTION SENSITIVE dispenser, so all they have to do is cup their hand underneath it to trigger an avalanche of mini sugar bombs. No need to put in a quarter, or penny, or even to twist a knob. Sometimes, you even get an accidental candy shower if your hand brushes too close to it. (I learned this the hard way and have been picking Skittles off the floor all afternoon…)

I could see a hint of apology in my mother-in-law’s grin as the kids tore open this most awesome of gifts. What is there to do besides grin and accept the indulgence?

Grandparents really can’t be helped. It is their God-given right to spoil kids within an inch of their lives, if that’s what makes them happy. Ian’s parents and mine are fantastic at this, from gifts, to vacations, to hours spent cuddling kids on laps or playing the kinds of games we busy parents rarely have time for. They do the spoiling, we do our best to instill a deep sense of gratitude.

For this week, at least, the kids can have their candy and eat it too. I will insist that their toothbrushes get a good workout each day.

And I’ll also make sure some sticky fingers get to work on some thank you notes, just as soon as I can pry them away from the magical sugar machine.

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