Creating memories one fingernail at a time

Rylin's "handy" work on Grandpa Chuck's right hand.

Rylin’s “handy” work on Grandpa Chuck’s right hand.

Chuck Kurtz

Chuck Kurtz

You’ll get no argument from me that I will do just about anything when it comes to each of my five grandkids.

To say they have me wrapped around their little fingers is, well, an understatement.

Our oldest, Alexandra, is 13 and leaves on Whidbey Island near Seattle, Wash. Dylan, 7, and his sister Carys, 5, live in Windsor, Colo., just east of Fort Collins. Then there are Rylin, 4, and her sister Ashlyn, 18 months, who live in Olathe and who I have been babysitting three afternoons a week since Rylin was six months old.

I would watch them all if it were possible.

Wife Terri and I might get to see Alexandra once a year. Dylan and Carys usually twice a year…sometimes three. So the times we are able to spend with them are often hectic, filled with non-stop activities designed to create as many memories as possible.  And we have created many.

Like I said, when it comes to the grandkids, I’ll do just about anything.

Take this past Halloween, for example.

Two days before the nightly house-to-house jaunt for trick-or-treat goodies, I was babysitting Rylin and Ashlyn. Our activity that afternoon was to carve a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. Rylin drew the face on the pumpkin and yours truly did the cutting.

“But I don’t want to put my hand inside,” Rylin said. “It’s yucky.”

“You don’t have to; I’ll do it,” I assured her.

With the “yucky” stuff out, we worked as a team, with her directing each cut. It turned out pretty good, too. And Rylin liked it — until…

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Giving it some eyebrows,” I said.

She watched…and watched…and when I was finished, she stood there with this disgusting look on her face.

“I don’t like it,” Rylin said.

“Don’t like what?”

“The eyebrows; they’re scary. Put back the stuff,” she said.

We worked out a compromise: The eyebrows stayed and she got a mid-afternoon snack. Congress could take a lesson from dealing with a 4-year-old!

But then, after the snack, she said, “I want to paint your fingernails.”

“You what?”

“I want to paint your fingernails.”

And before I could say anything, she had gotten out of the chair, went into her room and was back with about 10 bottles of fingernail polish. She said I could pick the color but before I could say which one, she then said she would pick the colors.

“Colors?” I asked.

And so for the next 20 minutes, I sat at the kitchen table watching Rylin paint one fingernail purple, one green, one pink, and, well, each fingernail was uniquely different.

“Do you like them,” she asked.

“They’re perfect,” I said.

“Which one is your favorite color?” she asked.

“I think it’s the blue,” I said.

“No, it’s the pink,” she said.

I stood corrected.

I wore the fingernail polish for a couple of days. But once Halloween had passed, I figured it was time to wipe my fingernails clean.

“What happened to your fingernail polish?” she asked a couple of days later.

“Halloween was over so I took it off.”

“It just wasn’t for Halloween!” she said. “Want me to paint them again?”

Like I said: I would do just about anything for my grandkids. But my fingernails have remained unpolished!

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