The other day, we made a rare trip to visit our daughter and her family. With the price of gasoline, we really hadn’t been going much of anywhere, and combine trips whenever possible. This trip combined ordering eye glasses, looking at some property (very disappointing) and then the highlight of the trip.
One seventeen month old girl with blonde curls and big blue eyes.
It’s not that we hadn’t seen her at all. We had seen her several times each month. We just hadn’t gone to their house to have our visit, instead combining it when they drove closer to where we live. (We live about an hour apart.) I felt like I had sacrificed some quality time with our granddaughter though, since we used to go spend the weekend about once a month. In addition, as kids go through their phases, she had become clingier to her parents, and displayed an obvious preference to her older half siblings to hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.
I understand the phases, and didn’t take her preferences as some sort of personal affront. She is still a baby in many ways, and is still exploring what the world has to offer.
That didn’t mean that my heart didn’t explode when we pulled into their driveway and parked our van, their door opened, and one small girl came charging out with her mom in hot pursuit. As she ran towards the van, obviously excited and happy, she babbled away in her childish voice. It didn’t matter to me if we weren’t who she was expecting to see, she was still happy to see us, and in that moment, I swear, I fell even deeper in love with one small child.
She wanted my attention, she wanted to sit in my lap, she wanted me to hold her.
I adore that little girl.
To her it doesn’t matter if my hair is gray, if I don’t come with gifts (we rarely do bring her presents, mostly because we really can’t afford to and secondly, she really does have anything she could want or need). To her, the important thing is my attention. I listen, even if I recognize few words she’s trying to say. I talk to her, even if it’s about the airplane in the sky or the birds or the squirt gun or the swimming pool or how dogs drink out of it. I let her eat off of my hamburger, because Grandma’s hamburger apparently tastes better. I’m thankful for poor vision as I let her have some of my drink (that means I won’t see any floaties in the glass.) I don’t mind if she crawls into my lap a hundred times, only to stay for thirty seconds before babbling something and scooting off to do something. I don’t even mind it when she’s wearing a wet bathing suit and gets me all wet in the process.
I’m just thankful for her existence and the chance I have to spend time with her.
Okay, I’ll admit it, when she comes running to me and reeks because her diaper is dirty…I holler for parental assistance. I hate dirty diapers. I dislike it when she stinks. Thankfully, she’s getting closer every day to that beautiful point when she is potty trained. Nobody could be looking forward to that day more than Grandma either.
I have big plans for future time sharing with that little girl too. She’s going to go camping with Grandma and Grandpa. We’re going to go fishing. We are going to bake cookies and decorate them too. I’m going to teach her how to paint. There will be lazy afternoons at the park, when she begs us to push her higher on the swing, and she’s frantically running from slide bottom to the stairs to do it again. We’ll have tea parties and play with dolls, and do all of the other things that Grandmas do with their granddaughters.
So why is it that Grandmas do these things and mothers don’t? Mothers DO do them, as a matter of fact. I did those things with my own daughter, although not as often as I could have or should have even. Too often, I was focused on the day to day routine, on discipline, and what we SHOULD be doing. Grandmas aren’t. Grandmas have (hopefully) learned the art of being in the moment. That granddaughter will never be this age again. Grandmas know how fast they really do go from being a baby to having their own baby, and the importance of NOW.
The whole now thing is really important. Now is a fading memory already, and we have to grab it with both hands and use it to the fullest potential it has, because tomorrow may never be, and yesterday is already gone. Maybe I realize how important now is because I lost one of my own children, and I know that I would give anything to have some of those “wasted” moments back.
Being a grandparent is something that I never dreamed about. Maybe it was just too slim of a hope. My daughter has health problems, and it wasn’t looking likely she was going to be able to be a mom herself. Therefore, the arrival of our oh-so-tiny-and-premature granddaughter was a minor miracle. We were at the hospital when she was born, via an emergency c-section after her mother developed pre-eclampsia. I was with her when she went to the doctor that fateful Friday and they ordered her into the hospital, something I had actually anticipated. She was in a lot of pain and utterly miserable from the severe swelling she was enduring and had been enduring. I saw her crying and asking if they couldn’t wait, to give the baby a better chance, because of how early it was in the pregnancy. She was terrified, afraid that something wouldn’t go well for the baby, even though it was her own life they were doing the c-section for.
But, everything went surprisingly well. She had few complications despite her rather hurried arrival. She was good sized too, at well over four pounds, even though she was (at that point) the smallest baby I had ever seen. I got to hold her a few days after she was born, cradling her carefully after the nurse handed her to me. She was tiny perfection. She was also equipped with some powerful lungs, and developed an ear splitting scream that got immediate attention. She still has that scream, and I laugh and say she is practicing with the intention of becoming an opera singer.
I’ll also confess…I told her that “Grandma doesn’t play that game” when it comes to screaming to get her way. Apparently, she realizes it, because so far, I haven’t had it. We will see how far it goes when we take her out for the day or when we go to stay with her next month.
We have a big event, as we’re going to go stay with her for an entire week in April. Her parents are off on some short jaunt, and we’ll be hanging out with their dogs, cats, and the amazing granddaughter. It will be a very interesting week too, as we juggle a total of five dogs, with some of them hating some of the others, and a child too.
Thank goodness for Grandpa, who slays dragons, conquers spiders, and soothes distraught granddaughters with a single touch, right?