The Joy of Grand-Parenting

I am blessed with four adorable grandchildren age three and half, three, one and half and one. Needless to say, when they are all together the adults keep quiet, listen and smile.

The three and half years old, Olivia, is very aware of her status of oldest child in the family. At fist, Julia, my number two, found it amusing to hold Big Cousin’s hand to cross the beach, go up the stairs or even walk close to Nonna. But soon Julia realized she was almost as tall as Olivia and she revolted. “Me, no baby. No hands.”

When the first one was born I spent 6 months in Virginia baby-sitting because Mommy and Daddy were both working long shifts. My son-in-law traveled and my daughter was often on call at the hospital. I re-learned to change diapers, give bottles, bath a baby, and sing lullabies. It was lovely and I enjoyed every minute of it. When I left, Olivia was sent to a daycare center and got sick after three weeks. Of course I traveled back to Virginia to baby-sit the sick child and kept on going back and forth every month.

When Julia was born, my son asked for equal favors. By then I was exhausted. I understood why God in his wisdom usually gives babies to younger parents. But fair is fair, you can’t give one of your kids more than you give the other. So I started traveling to Chicago, and alternated the trips, Chicago, Virginia, Chicago,… I left a few clothes in each house for convenience. To maintain my sanity, I took my laptop wherever I went.

Two years later, the second butch of babies arrived at three months distance. This time my husband protested. He needed some TLC too and felt neglected while I pampered babies. I spent only two months in Virginia to take care of Olivia while Mommy dedicated herself to Baby Madelyn. I didn’t have to spend too much time in Chicago as the other grandmother took an early retirement and asked for grand-mothering rights, which I gladly shared.

Last born David was smart enough to realize that sister Julia wasn’t going to give up a minute of both grandmas’ time. He decided the only way to be noticed was to be as sweet as possible. He did his best to be an easy baby who just wanted to eat and sleep. Baby Madelyn didn’t share his philosophy. She claimed attention with loud shouts the moment we tried to set her in bed. Olivia got used to the new baby’s screams. When we asked her how was her baby-sister, she just shrugged: “Baby crying.”

My son and daughter-in-law were lucky enough to find a nanny who adores the children and raises them perfectly well while the parents worked long hours. But my daughter and son-in-law tried daycare center, baby-sitters at home, foreign au-pair students, and decided nothing beats having grandma at your beck and call. They just moved to Florida to be next to us. “You see, Mom, we came here just for you, so that you can enjoy the children.”

I am enjoying them all right. The whole family is invited for lunch every Sunday. We receive Olivia and Madelyn every Thursday. We go to baby-sit Madelyn on Tuesday, and of course every other week we stay in the evening so that the exhausted parents can go out on their own.

What about the happy grandparents? Now they have to submit their schedule of traveling for approval a year ahead so that both set of parents can get organized. And of course they can’t travel on the weeks of vacation of the parents because they have to baby-sit the children while the “exhausted” parents relax and recoup their strength.

The grandparents are wonderful people who have nothing to do all day and are so lucky to be granted the joys of staying with their adorable grandchildren. I hope you will have the joy to take care of grandchildren one of these days.

4 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // November 8, 2007 at 9:40 AM  

    Lovely piece. Your grandbabies are absolutely darling! Of course, and so are mine. :)

  2. Mona Risk // November 9, 2007 at 3:08 PM  

    Beth,

    Aren't we the lucky grandmas!

  3. Misc. Muse // November 13, 2007 at 4:54 PM  

    adorable grandchildren, just hearing your discription of travel to take care of them made me tired. Such lucky children having mom at beck and call.

  4. Mary Marvella // November 24, 2007 at 11:12 PM  

    Reminds me of the times when my daughter and my nieces and nephews were small.