It was one of those moments when time stood still. Four week old Madilyn was locked in on my face, cooing and smiling at me. The moment was brief, but another one soon came. The minutes ticked by and soon several hours were gone between those smiles and the unsaid words communicated through facial gestures. It was a Saturday when I usually have a hundred and one tasks on my list that need to be done. At the moment I couldn’t think of anything that HAD to be done. I couldn’t even remember what was on my list. It was a new feeling for me. It must be what happens when one becomes a grandparent. The world seemed to stop as I knew it and I find myself easing into another kind of world: a world full of simplicity, slower pace, but total beauty.
Summer ushered in two grandchildren for us. Our first grandchild, Madilyn Gracie, was born on June 13th and our second grandchild, Maclane Jaye, was born on July 16th. Becoming grandparents has been the beginning of a new era and something that I hadn’t anticipated would impact us as much as it has. And as I pondered about how to verbalize it, I realized it was so new and so different I didn’t have words to describe the experience. I just know that somehow I am different since the world seems to have moved on with its busy pace as I stepped off of that track to wait in case I can catch a moment with either one of them.
Last week I received an e-mail from a close friend who is a few months ahead in the grandparenting department as she has a 18 month old grandson. Her e-mail seemed to describe in words the new world that has opened up to me, and the joys that are yet to be shared as the children (and grandma) grow.
A Day in the Life of a Grandma
By Vicki Abel
This is our first day together as Roger (grandpa) drove to Nebraska with the parents and Sarah and Shane (parents) flew to California. As always I had some trepidation about Ryan missing “momma and dada” and being sad at their leaving, AND once again, having prepared for a week for this moment of separation, he has transitioned seamlessly into grandma time. He talked non-stop all the way back from the airport after I dropped Sarah and Shane off for their flight to CA, most of it unintelligible but very pleasant. The trucks were most exciting, the airplanes a delight, and anything else we saw elicited a flurry of “words” that sound very Japanese. He was exceptionally delighted with having TWO crayons to hold all the way back. It is so amazing how joyful the little ones are with the simplest of things.
We enjoyed a truly delightful afternoon, watching Ryan’s favorite DVD, having a lovely 2-hour nap (both of us), and then eating a refreshing vegetarian dinner of steamed organic carrots and green beans, followed by apple slices.
It’s funny how you feed the children what you most enjoy, knowing they will love it best. When Sarah feeds him, there is a lot more meat on the menu…and he loves that as well. So adaptable. But he really does crave fruit and vegetables. Before putting him in his crib for the night, we were watching the Little Einstein DVD on Old MacDonald’s Farm. We got to the “harvest” and the “carrots”, and he is asking for MORE carrots. He has learned the hand motions for “more” from the sign language books. One simply needs to pay attention in order to interpret what “more” means at the time the sign is given.
Not having experienced the adventurous nature of boys in my mother years, I was most interested to observe Ryan wanting to explore the nooks and crannies of our property…the neighbors’ property (on both sides) and the road in either direction in general. He seems to want to explore the narrow spaces between the trees and shrubs, to lift up heavy river rocks and throw them (usually narrowly missing his tiny toes), taking his shoes off and trudging bravely across some very unfriendly mulch to ring the wind chimes hanging from the scrub oak in our back yard…pointing out the poo poo of every animal who has ever graced our property…rabbits, deer, and who knows what else. Poo poo sounds like “guhhh” in Ryan’s language. Birds are also “guhh”…and so are his poo poo diapers, so you have to pay attention.
As we were watching ANOTHER DVD before bedtime tonight, (yes, he seems to be a product of the video generation of children/adults), I, once again, received the lesson of vigilance. No matter how vigilant I am…and RESPONSIBLE…I cannot prevent him from diving/flipping off the chair, quite unexpectedly and quick as lightning onto his head. Oh well. We are all mortal, alas, fallible, human.
So, the human you know shares a fond goodnight with you as I take my grandmother body to bed. My legs are talking to me…loudly…about the many trips they have taken up and down the stairs which never see my footprints on a normal day. Now they see my feet, (carrying 25 extra pounds) more times than they ever thought possible. Although Ryan has totally mastered stair climbing, he has opted to be carried up and down rather than exert the extra effort. What is wrong with this picture?
So, I’m having the time of my life, developing sumo wrestler thighs and calves, new eyes for exploring the far reaches of my back yard, recognizing poo poo from yards away, observing courting in the baby pool between my grandson and some 2-year-old floozy in a two-piece (just kidding), and eating his ice cream cone as he is asking for more green beans. Next time you see me, I will have the proportions of a cave-woman gone soft on ice cream, but with a dreamy gleam in my eye that looks much like a child discovering life for the second time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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