Friday, July 25, 2008

"Quality Time"

I am appalled - well, maybe amazed is a kinder word to use - at the amount of grandmothers who say to me, "How on earth can you stand taking care of your grandkids full time? A few hours with mine and I'm ready to send them home!"

Oh my.

Therein lies the difference between them and me, I guess. I do put in long days with long hours. I can't even go to the bathroom by myself without company. By the end of the day my clothes are usually a mess with baby burp-up spillover, snotty nose-wipe when a tissue isn't handy, baby bubbles, toddler tears, and little-boy sweat where my grandson lays his head on my shoulder on a hot day. My house looks like a tornado hit it by the end of the day. Toys are scattered from one end to the other. Sometimes, as I sit here at the computer after the boys have gone home and I've put all of Dylan's trucks back in to the toy box, a random siren or calliope music from his circus train will suddenly come to life and startle me half to death. I have a big basket overflowing with books like "The Cat in the Hat," "My Big Truck Book," "Winnie the Pooh and the Grand and Wonderful Day," and "Elmo's First Baby Sitter." Magnetic letters and numbers grace the side of my stove in the kitchen. I have two strollers on my front porch, a single and a double.


You could never convince me otherwise.

I may be older. I may be stiffer in the joints where getting up and down off the floor a hundred times a day is a little more difficult. I may have silvery hair compared to the dark brown I once had. But I have little calluses on both my knees. Dear Hubby ran his finger over one this morning as I sat rocking Cooper and I told him, "Those are from spending endless hours on my knees playing with Dylan these past couple of years." I could put moisturizing cream on them to smooth them out, I'm sure, but I don't want to. You see, to me they're badges of grandmotherhood...stay-at-home-grandmotherhood, anyway. I consider it a privilege to be in good enough shape to be able to get down on my knees to play with my grandson! And to spend the endless hours we wander around the area of Portland I live in, covering only the good Lord knows how many miles these past couple of years. In fact, my single stroller's been over so many miles of pavement, WD-40 no longer takes the squeaks out of the wheels! I'm sure the double stroller will be in the same shape by the time Dylan, Cooper, and I are done with it, too.

I have very little computer time. I have very little reading time. I have hardly a moment to myself thru my 10-12 hour days. But I know, from past experience 30 years ago, just how fleeting these early years spent with my grandsons will be. I know it won't be too many years and I'll no longer be the center of their daily universe. I won't be asked to kiss countless boo-boos. I won't be rocking little bodies and singing lullabies. That sweet downy head of Cooper's won't be tucked under my jaw with his soft breath tickling my neck much longer. Dylan will get past the stage of patting the couch cushion next to him and calling, "Maw-Maw!" when he wants me to hunker down next to him and watch the birds in the tree and at the feeders outside the window. Right now...these moments...are my "quality time."

So, the next time another grandmother tells me, "I don't know how you do it!" I'll just smile to myself and keep my peace.

They don't know what they're missing.


Anonymous said...

Dylan & Cooper are very blest, and so is your son & d-i-l.


Mike S said...

I greatly wish our grandchildren were closer to us. I'm afraid we're past the stage physically where we could do as you are. Ours are also mostly older, but the one grandson is 2 and would be a very welcome addition until we expired from exhaustion. What a way to go!!

TravelinOma said...

Your grandsons are very lucky to have you! My faraway grandkids have been here over the last few weeks and we've had some awesome days, but I couldn't do it full-time. I am exhausted by their energy!

Loretta said...

I agree! I feel so blessed to spend this time with Hannah. I can't get around like I used to but she doesn't seem to mind. Every day is a pleasure.

Mrs. Darling said...

Oh mIss Kris, I hear ya. I just love my little Tiger Lily. I wish I could watch Jane too but she's such a handful that my husband put his foot down. I could handle it but the thinks that our own two kids wouldnt get the time they deserve from me. Humph! I know I could do it but I cant convince him.

Who knew that grandkids could be such a blessing!!!

Judy said...

I'm with you on this post 100%.

I am having the time of my life!

Karen said...

You say it so well, Kris. I want to be a grandma just like you! Thanks for the "life lesson" here. Though I don't get my grandkids full time, I LOVE every minute with them....