It’s Easter morning. I didn’t go to church today. I only remember missing one Easter service in the last 35 years. It was the day my first child was born — an Easter baby. We are going to celebrate her birthday this afternoon after our Easter celebrations.
I am grateful that my Mom is here with us to celebrate (she came here after hospitalization after all). She is feeling better. Not perfect, but better. She has so much more clarity. I can hear her talking on the phone with friends and family members, and she is making sense — and most of the details are accurate.
My grandchildren will be here today, and they will be excited to see that GG is home from the hospital. GG is what they began calling her when she came here to live with me. They struggled with a Gramma and a Great Gramma, and it all got a bit confusing. The 5 year old boy finally landed on GG — and it has stuck. I think it’s cute and endearing. Mom is almost 84 years old and she has been given a new name! Last week when she wasn’t here, my grandchildren were disappointed.
It is so sweet to watch their interaction. I know the days get a bit long for Mom with 3 or 4 children undertow. Sometimes the noise level gets a bit high, but she is getting to know those children as I know them. She is making an impression into their young lives that they will remember. I love that.
Welcome home, GG, the kids will be very excited that you are here. So Am I.
10. Taking care of those kids will wear you out! You think it’s because you are old now. It is actually because we have chosen to forget the chaos of mothering. They wear their mother out too, but she can’t “give them back” at the end of the day.
9. You need to be the one to initiate “together” time. They do not need gifts as much as they need your time. Be involved. If you do not, when they are teens and adults, they will not come around.
8. Be joyful, be happy, be encouraging. Your grandkids need that….if you are lighthearted, they will crave your company.
7. Ask meaningful questions. Don’t ask their age and school grade; you should know those answers. Those are the questions that strangers ask. And yes, they are getting taller and bigger, but don’t talk about that …again. Do you know their favorite color? food? movie? Do they have hobbies? Get to KNOW them. Really really know them. Even long-distance Grammas — in this day and age — can know their grandkids really well.
6. Your daughter/son can criticize them, but you cannot. This is a good lesson to learn early.
5. You had your chance to raise your kids. Now is the time to be quiet and let your daughter/son find their way. Don’t judge. Don’t advise unless asked. Your turn is over.
4. They WILL make the house messy. It’s ok. You know how to clean. Relax and enjoy the time together…. and sweep after they are gone. And don’t complain about the dirt while they are there. Remember #8
3. Read to them and tell them stories. They love stories. Tell them good stories, funny stories about their Mom/Dad. Tell them stories about you and your childhood. Pass along a heritage.
2. Teach them something. Leave a legacy. What do you do well? Teach them that.
1. The love you feel for those children will surprise you…. and overwhelm you. And because you do not bear the responsibility that their parents carry, you can love with abandon. Its your job. What a wonderful new career!
Not only are the windows overlooking my backyard covered with fingerprints, there are numerous nose prints here and there on the glass as well …which makes me smile. Grass clippings and dirt stick to my bare feet and I kick a toy tractor out of my way as I go for my first cup of coffee. The house is quiet. I thought I would relish the peace this morning, but the lack of noise is almost too loud.
Grandchildren have kept me hopping for the last four days. The busyness has been constant. An old croquet set and a couple of jump ropes were discovered along with sidewalk chalk, frisbees and several other forgotten toys . Little boys talked me into setting up the tent so they could have a “headquarters” for an afternoon of detective work. We unboxed Barbies and Polly Pockets for one child and created bean fields out of blankets so the other two could harvest with their toy combines. Little hands got sticky with glue as paper plate scarecrows took shape. And Batman asked several times, “did I scare you, Gramma?”. We took an afternoon to meet up with Papa, riding in the combine and soaking up knowledge about corn and beans. Those inquisitive minds asking so many questions about farming. They love the red combine and wait anxiously all year for it to “wake up”.
And between all that activity, those small bodies were crawling up on the bar stools again and again, waiting to be fed… like little birdies. Seriously? You’re hungry again? My kitchen is now devoid of any cookies, donuts or fruit. I might also be out of bread and cheese. I’m not ready to take inventory and commit to a grocery run. I want another cup of coffee first.
I’m feeling a little blue as I savor my last few sips of Pumpkin Spice Blend. I once had four little ones of my own. I lived the chaos. But I have gotten soft and lazy… and self-focused. Caring for little ones doesn’t leave much time for reflection. Life is crazy. Life is about them. There is barely time for a shower! Survival is the goal on many days. It is easy to forget the mayhem of the day-in and day-out of mothering. I commit to pray more for my daughter.
As they covered me with hugs and kisses last night as they said their good-byes, I breathed a sigh of relief. However, at the same moment, bittersweet emotions brought a lump to my throat. So glad to see them… so glad to send them home. Am I allowed to say that? I guess, as Gramma, I am.
So, yes, the windows and floors are dirty; my cupboards are bare. And a few toys yet need to find their shelf. My bones are a bit weary. I need a break today. And quietly, as I go for my final cup of brew, I grab my calendar and mark off the days until those little kiddos are running through my house again… because I sure do miss them today.