Grandparenting. It is so much more than I ever expected.
Recently, our daughter (and Little One’s mommy) resumed her career as a hospital nurse and this Nana was transported back into the world of providing care for a toddler full-time on the days daughter works.
I find it interesting that the everyday occurrences that drove me crazy when my own children were this age– spilt milk messes, toys strewn willy nilly across the floor making it an obstacle course, constant activity except during nap times, sticky finger smudges everywhere – don’t bother me.
Is it that grandparents are wiser than we were as parents? Is it that we recognize that we only have so much time with our sweet grandchildren so we don’t ‘sweat the small stuff’ anymore? Or have we finally reached the age where we just don’t care as much about appearances but relish time spent together with our child’s child?
The former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani once said, “What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”
This statement rings true for me and not just the cookie part. Pure unconditional love that just about makes my heart explode is what I’ve felt for this grandchild since I cradled her in my arms shortly after her birth. I find humor in things she does that I never would have laughed at as a young mom. I recognize that I’m much more patient with Little One than I ever was with my children.
No longer do I worry about whether the bathroom gets cleaned or the laundry is finished like I did when my kids were small. Instead I willingly spend all day just playing and exploring the world with my granddaughter.
And she is one busy bee. So inquisitive and so full of wanting to learn and do and examine and discover. Sometimes I feel guilty thinking that perhaps I didn’t spend enough time doing the same things with my children. And I wonder if that’s the thing – grandparents are given a second chance to ‘get it right’ with our grandchildren.
Since her mama leaves for work before the crack of dawn, Little One wakes up to find Nana lifting her from her crib. She definitely misses her mommy because she inquires about her upon awakening in the mornings, after naps, and often during the day by asking ‘mum?’ I tell her mommy’s at work, Little One nods her head and says yes, and I reassure her that mama will be home later.
Nana and Little One have settled into a nice routine. Last week we had beautiful fall weather – warm, sunny days when we could be outside playing and exploring in the mornings after the temperature warmed up and the dew on the grass dried.
After a bit of time playing in the sand box, we went for walks around our 2.25 acre yard and made visits to the garden where Roma tomatoes, zucchini, Brussel sprouts, and sunflowers were still producing.
She enjoyed picking tomatoes and wanted me to lift her up high so she could gaze into the sunflowers’ cheery faces. From there we ventured to the raspberry bushes to pick this last crop for the year. Little One loves raspberries and eats them faster than I can pick them.
One day on our way back to the house with our bounty, we spied a butterfly which had lit upon the grass. She pointed to it and as I told her to be gentle, she crouched down and touched the delicate creature.
I couldn’t believe it didn’t fly away immediately but it stayed in place while she touched it yet again. When it took off soaring into the air, floating and flitting around us, Little One laughed happily and clapped her hands. Such a simple thing that brought such merriment.
Another day we examined the leaves on our maple trees and saw that they are starting to turn from green to red and also that some leaves had already fallen on the ground. As she picked up some of the fallen leaves, I noticed a tiny green inchworm. She giggled with delight when the little critter crawled on her hand.
It’s a full and, to be honest, tiring day taking care of our Little One but watching her eyes light up over a new discovery gives me so much joy. She doesn’t miss a thing whether it’s spotting an airplane soaring overhead, watching birds chow down at the bird feeder after we fill it, or an ant crawling across the sidewalk.
I’m just so blessed and grateful to be able to spend this time with her and nothing compares to the hugs and kisses our sweet girl bestows on me.
I wouldn’t trade being a Nana for anything in the world and come December, I’ll have two sweet grandbabies to love. Double perfection.
“Truth be told, being a grandma is as close as we ever get to perfection. The ultimate warm sticky bun with plump raisins and nuts. Clouds nine, ten, and eleven.” – Bryna Nelson Paston