We should all be so lucky to check in at Hotel Grandma.
At Hotel Grandma, located in the Cow Hollow district of San Francisco, you are treated like a prince the very moment you check in. You are greeted with open arms and a gushing smile. A fancy glass bowl of “chocolate balls,” as you’ve come to call them, awaits you. Your “transportation” to Hotel Grandma (Mom or Dad) is graciously sent back to San Carlos, and once they are gone, it’s just you and your host, Grandma, who will grant you nearly anything your heart desires.
You’ve decided you’d like to ride Muni trains through the city all day? Let’s go.
You’d like to walk Nickie the St. Bernard to the Marina Green? Let me just get his slobber towel.
You’d like to plant seeds in the lush city gardens at Hotel Grandma? Would you like a cookie in the garden?
Oh, a grilled cheese and a rich vanilla milkshake at Mel’s sound nice right now? Let me get the keys.
You’d like to enjoy my undivided attention as we hug in the front room for 90 minutes? Let me get the blanket.
You’d like to bake cookies all day? But of course. I have the butter right here.
You’d like to stay up late and watch insect documentaries? At what volume would you like the TV set at?
My sons Dylan, 3, and Jack, 6, love Hotel Grandma. Can you blame them? At Hotel Grandma, and at Hotel Grandma’s affiliate establishment, Hotel Jennifer (run by their aunt in Lower Pacific Heights), you are loved and cared for extra-special and taken to the far corners of this world-class city. You enjoy a close bond with a loved one, and it’s a gift you’ll likely carry with you the rest of your life. You are granted furlough from the tougher realities of your regular life in San Carlos and all its time-outs, household “jobs,” strict adherence to bedtime parameters, parent-sharing with an annoying brother, and (the horror) limited say in what is served for dinner.
Needless to say, checking out of Hotel Grandma (or Hotel Jennifer) and returning to San Carlos can level quite a shock to the system. A sense of injustice permeates your mind, and tirades seem to be the favored response. You sob and mope. You sigh loudly. When you are given a consequence for failing to do as you were told, you fold your arms and shout, “You are a bad … bad … bad Daddy,” and your lower lip pops out. You announce, “You guys are torturing me.” Sometimes it is all too much, and you are compelled to collapse into a mound of tears (a favorite tactic of Dylan’s).
To which your Daddy replies, “More content for your memoirs someday.”
As I write this, Dylan is checked in at Hotel Grandma. I know he is having a wonderful time and is enjoying my mother’s undivided attention — and what a gift that is in life. But I know that when he returns, there will be that adjustment period, just as there is for his older brother Jack. But the way Nancy and I see it, it’s the price we gladly pay for the boys to have such special people — a loving aunt, an adoring grandma — in their lives.
Do any of you parents out there have similar problems with your kids after they’ve returned from Grandma’s House?