On The Path Of Life
I am fresh off my path from a visit with my son and his family. After 2 weeks of being immersed in their domestic life; I have come home to reflect and savor the memories we made during my time spent with them. Living on separate coasts has taught me to live in the small, busy, rambunctious, and heartfelt moments, when I am there. After over 2 years since my last visit, due to the great Covid life crisis, I was so happy to finally be on that plane to the “other side”.
My concerns about traveling during this time were still there, however, time had passed, and the children are growing even faster. Family ruled out on this one! So, I sucked it up, used all the recommended protocols and went forward.
My usual social time with friends was pared down to just one. We made our short time well worth being together again. This was directly because I did not want to expose myself to any more outside people than was necessary nor drag something back. So, my focus became on family.
Before I arrived, my plan was to stay on their schedule. I went to bed early and began my day the same. On the weekends I made sure to be up and ready, on deck, for what the day held for us. And that was the surest way to get this grandma to the soccer fields before her breakfast time, commitment!
It did take a bit of time for me to get used to as I am not a “morning person”, but a night owl, especially when I don’t get my 8 hours of solid sleep! Since kids tend to start the day well before my breakfast time…I am so happy I chose to be there with them! I reminded myself of just that, a few times after some late margarita nights around the fire pit, the next morning! Burning the candle on both ends used to be easier!
The clips of life’s moments with my grandchildren are recorded in my soul with the memories. The sweet, kindhearted, a true thinker, 13-year-old boy asking me if I want to watch a movie with him. I had been there a couple days.
I am in the kitchen grabbing a few things to take downstairs, where they keep a room for me whenever I am in town. I hear a voice from the living room. “Umm, are you going downstairs?” Sensing a question behind the question, I tell him I am taking this stuff down, but I will be right back.
I pop my head around the corner as he asks… “Do you like those kinds of movies”? he asks politely and curiously. I see Guardians of the Galaxy on the screen. I tell him I am, most definitely, a follower and would love to watch it again with him and I will be right back. Later, as a fellow cereal fan, I let him know I have some chocolate Life cereal in the cupboard if he wanted to give it a try sometime, help yourself. He smiles and nods his head, “thanks,” he says. A few minutes later I hear…” Could we try it now”? After bowls are empty, I get two thumbs up for a review.
His life is busy and structured. It worked out the best time to hang out with him, one on one, was the block of time that belonged to him for his TV time. I think at 13, hanging out with grandma isn’t so much about what we talk about, its that we do and share something together. O.k., honestly, I must admit invitations from him swells this grandma’s heart!
The last time I saw granddaughter, she was nearly 2 and required her space, as to how close she would let me be. I must say, after raising my children, with a daughter that had her own definitive line drawn as to who was accepted inside that area, and who was not, I had total respect for her. My heart wanted to scoop her up and never let her go. My head politely waited for the invitation. Oh, don’t think this Libra did not subtlety work on sprinkling some grandma love charm on her!
This time, I had arrived from my plane journey late, as she slept. The next morning, from my bed downstairs, I listened to the pitter patter of my kid’s feet’s, big and little, as they bustled their way to begin their day. My heart swelled just being there as I consciously listened to which pitter patter belonged to who.
On this morning, my wee missy’s daycare had to close for a couple days. Blessedly, her wonder woman mom has a career that allows for her to adjust for family needs and they both would be home for that time. I came upstairs to greet granddaughter, who had been up for some hours already, wondering when this grandma was going to surface, with her own youthful view on time. I could see half of her clinging a bit to mom. The other half was intrigued. I am very tall, and with my background in childcare, I knowingly bent down to her level to talk to her. “Hey, Grandma, I have an idea” she says…and before I knew it, she was shuffling me down to her bedroom to play “doctor and patient.”
We spent many sessions during my visit doing just that. The beauty of being a grandparent for me is, understanding the domestic duties of life at this point belong to her parents. I discovered the luxury of leaving them to it, while I immerse into the child’s realm.
I remembered the partly disjointed video chats that we had done well before my arrival, as working with a very busy, nearly 4-year-old will be, as a hopeful attempt to not make me be a “stranger” grandma. The concept that if the notebook camera could not see her, then neither could I…was in the evolving stage. She helped me come out of my shy shell to make some video clips just for her where I introduced my “buddy” the bear, to let her know I had one too, as she had shared hers before. There was one or two of grandma singing to her before she went to sleep. Yeah, sorry to my son to deal with on his phone, but that was just for her!
I had some lovely times of watching Bluey and Cocomelon, on Netflix, of which my resourceful, nearly 4-year-old, grand-daughter patiently explained who all the characters were. Sometimes my son was with us, sharing his amusement where he had found it doing the same as me, as I shared with them both. Just as I had done in his youth with him.
There were walks to the end of the street with my son as she rode her wee, training wheeled bike. We both encouraged her to focus on going forward. Her grandma is thinking, I hear you girl, it is work but out loud I say, “You can do it!” At the streets end, she jumps off her bike, carefully, as it is still new to her, runs back to and up the short hill and to turn a sharp left and come back to us along the rock wall. The wind captures her long blonde curls perfectly, along with her unabashedly gleeful giggles, pinked cheeks, bright eyes, as the New England canopy of colorful leaves drop all around her in the wind. She arrives at the exact spot where her dad has his practiced, up reached arms ready to catch her. “Watch daddy fly me, Grandma!”
Not only am I able to witness the pure joy of my granddaughter in her safe routine with her dad, but I am also blessed to witness my own son, in his blessed routine with his daughter! If I could capture that true circle of life moment…I would certainly “can” that one to share.
On a Sunday morning, we were all 5 headed to The Farm for harvest pictures and cruising the very cool store. As we are heading out the door, missy granddaughter asks me who is driving, mom or dad. I tell her I don’t know. She lets me know that she wants me to sit next to her in the back seat! “Oh, yes!” I reply, delighted. I am thrilled on the inside…because…a couple years ago, she would only allow her mom to sit in that “high-ranking” position. Her dad is the first to arrive with us in the driveway, she makes her preference on my behalf known…he shoots me a smile with his eyes and says…O.K.!
There was an ultimate exalted moment for me, once again in front of the tv, that was her time. On behalf of my grandkid’s parents, they truly structure in tv time. I learned to capitalize on these moments! On this evening, it’s just me and her in the room. She is sitting just close enough to her line she has drawn between us on the couch. I am very aware of that line, for if it was up to me…I would scoop her up! I notice she is ever so slowly edging closer to me.
I am wearing a shirt that has cutouts from above and below my shoulder. I suddenly feel her soft wee fingers tracing the cut out. She says, gently, “Grandma, I think your shirt is too big for you…or something” …her answer to my fashion statement. I laugh and tell her, it’s the way my shirt was made, sweetie. And in that time to say that to her, she has edged herself, closely, in such a way to my side that my arm around her was accepted. I had made my way to couch snuggles!
As I write this, my eyes tear up knowing in that moment, she had let me all the way in and on her terms. As it should be because, love and affection are earned.
I so loved being a parent. My children arrived and showed me my purpose in this life that I never thought I was capable of. They were my “career”, my everything purpose. I thought that was the “icing” on the cake of life. That was until the day I was able to be Grandma! I am so fortunate to have been blessed with a son, who traveled his path to a special woman, and they have included me in their lives wholeheartedly. I have made a few, serious, mistakes in life choices and my son chose to forgive me and still include me in their life. I remain eternally grateful.
Through the last couple years of worldwide madness, we have utilized, as never before, technology to keep, sporadically, connected. I do agree it has a valid place in life. However, nothing replaces the human connection that can only be experienced, in person, over lengths of time, in the moment. That is where the majick of life truly happens, young or older.
I remember as a mother walking my path with their father, our own mothers, fathers, and grandparents in our lives allowed us to walk our own path. Looking back, I think they recognized that sometimes, they did not always understand our choices in parenting. To their credit, they did not interfere. They were always around us.
I am grateful for their trust that we might know what we were doing in the times we did it in. Its because of that I go forwards with the next generation and do not judge aloud. I observe and focus on the generation they are raising and trust them, for the times they are raising their children with their own loving choices, my grandchildren in.