Noah's eighth birthday celebrations netted him a $50 gift card. I was tasked with taking him to Target to see what he could buy with this largesse. With his family's upcoming trip to Disney World, I suggested that he might want to save it and buy some really cool things while they were there. "But Grandma," he protested, "I don't want to miss my opportunity." As if the gift card would melt away in the next few days.
Off we went to our local Target. As we waited to cross the parking lot into the store, he informed me that he didn't need to hold my hand anymore since he was eight now. Ok, then. We headed straight for the toy department, although I had mentioned that there were other things he could purchase, like books, a new swimsuit or cool T-shirts. This went over the same way delaying the use of the card did.
Noah went straight to the aisle where they had BeyBlades and Pokemon cards. For those of you who haven't spent any time with little boys lately, a BeyBlade is a kind of top. You insert a toothed plastic strip into it, pull and as Noah says, "Let 'er rip!" It spins and spins until it runs out of energy or smashes another BeyBlade in a plastic "arena." He has dozens of these and came name them all--names that are unintelligible to most adults. There weren't all that many to select from, so we turned to a display of Pokemon cards across the aisle. This is another game that is beyond me. It consists of trading cards with different point values and pictures of strange-looking creatures with even stranger-sounding names. Noah also has hundreds of these and knows all the names. Some were given to him by his cousin Booker and others have been acquired as presents or rewards for good behavior.
First, he chose a white plastic-wrapped box containing the Pokemon cards. No price was displayed, so off we went to one of the many price scanners located throughout the store. The box would have eaten the entire value of his gift card. "What a rip-off," he exclaimed. We headed back to the aisle from whence we came and he selected another item. Another trip to the scanner where he learned that this, too, was a "rip-off". Finally, he found a box of cards that appealed to him. A third trip to the scanner revealed a price of $30. Although Noah was a bit anguished about the price, he reasoned that he'd still have about $20 to spend at Disney World--probably the price of an ice cream cone.
Of course, as we neared the checkout lane, he had to make a side trip to see if there were any other Pokemon cards on display. No luck, so Noah scanned his purchase and we headed home, where he could brag about his cards.
The next day, he was on the way home from soccer practice with Mom when he said that he'd really like to spend the night at Grandma's house "because she will miss me while we're on our trip." Done. Pancakes in the morning and he was a happy camper. Hannah told me that while they were on vacation, he announced that "Grandma is probably crying because she misses me so much." This statement from his eight-year-old heart got me right in my 76-year-old one. I can't get enough hugs from Noah these days. In about three or four years, he will be on to other interests and rationing his hugs like my older grandchildren. Ah well, time goes by.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.