I am the Lunch Box Grandpa. More familiarly I am the Lunchbox Toppa. Toppa is what my three granddaughters call me. Or what the two granddaughters who can talk call me. My three granddaughters are five, two, and three months. Like all granddaughters, they are precocious, of course, but the littlest one, Eliza, doesn’t talk yet. She smiles a lot, and laughs, and roots for the Packers and Vanderbilt basketball, and has a pretend morning sports radio talk show in Nashville with her dad, my son, in which she goes by the name Little Goose, but he does the talking and Little Goose does the squeaking. When the subject turns to sorry Vanderbilt football, she does the grunting and moaning.
My two older granddaughters are Jersey Girls. Heidi is five and Ava is two. Readers of this blog will recognize them as Lunch Box Mom's daughters. Ava, the two year old, has been getting more of the ink lately in the Lunch Box Mom blog because she does not like to sleep, or prefers to sleep on the lower shelf of a bookcase or in her parents’ bed than where she is supposed to sleep. This makes the Lunch Box Mom tired, and it also takes sleep time away from the utterly unheralded Lunch Box Dad, Tom Vander Schaaff, but you readers already know that. Heidi makes the blog mostly for her wondrous curiosity and ability to ask an unending series of penetrating questions beginning with the word why. There is no doubt that she is the granddaughter of a journalist, although at this point she would rather be a princess than a writer.
|The writer (Lunch Box Toppa) with son Andrew, |
wife, Linda, and daughter, Sarah (Lunch Box Mom) circa 1976
But before I get too syrupy here, and before I get back to my granddaughters and what it means to be a Lunch Box Toppa, let me spend a paragraph in the holiday season giving you a Christmas history of this Lunch Box Mom whose essays you read each week. To the best of my memory, I first made her cry on Christmas when she was about seven or eight and I gave her a wristwatch I’d bought at the last minute at a little shop inside the Pentagon subway station as I was rushing home from an interview. Even at that early age, you could not slip anything by her, she knew quality, and this watch had a cheap band. The saving grace of that Christmas meltdown was that it became iconic. Any disappointments thereafter were delivered and received in the context of my pathetic attempt to satisfy her with a faux fancy watch – every sweater of the wrong color, or shirt of the wrong style, every wrapped box containing something just plain beneath her discriminating taste (mostly picked out lovingly by her mother, my wife, the quirky saint Linda), evoked that Rosebud moment when little Sal first teared up.
|Toppa with oldest |
|Toppa and wife, Linda,|
with youngest granddaughter, Eliza
Yesterday, the national website Mamapedia featured the Lunch Box Mom blog post: Kids: The Last of the True, Great Old-Fashioned Book Readers. If you missed it when it ran on the blog, or want to see it on the big screen, please click here.