Grandchildren Are Exhausting Joys

Grandchildren are Exhausting Joys

My oldest son and his wife are very generous with me about my granddaughter Abby, who’s three years old. Because of the many divorces in the family, I’m actually the divorced stepmom of my older two sons’ father. (Got that?) Even though I did not physically bear these sons, I reared them from the ages of seven and ten. We are bonded. They are also bonded with their mother (and her husband,) and their dad. My daughter- in-law has a dad and his wife, and a mother and her fiancé. So there are five sets of grandparents for Abby. Still, I get a lot of access.

When she was a baby, I would go over to their house and take care of her and my son and daughter-in-law got some much needed time together. Then I started picking her up from daycare and taking her to Stillman Railroad Park or back to my place to swim. Now I’ve graduated to taking her overnight.

We have a special time, Granny Annie and Abby time. We bake cookies. Isn’t that what grandmas are supposed to do? I use the refrigerated dough and will do so until she’s at least six and can really enjoy the whole measuring process. We play tea party, we color, and we put puzzles together, throw a frisbee, take the dog for a walk, and generally hang out.

She goes to sleep about 8:15 but usually wakes up for some water or to complain of an ache. Last weekend she woke up at 4:15. I told her it was still the middle of the night and she should go back to sleep. She’s very well trained to stay in her bed. She wiled away the next hour by singing. Loudly. And with the fervor and trills of the Disney classic films. After I took her home the next morning I took a two hour nap.

I adopted my youngest son when I was forty. I thought that was the upper reaches for parenthood. These days the limits have been stretched much further. I did notice that I had a little less patience with him which I hope was evened out with greater experience and wisdom.

Being a single senior means that when I take Abby, I have her all to myself. I am not in competition with a funny or athletic Grandpa. It also means that there is no one to help me run after her, or an extra pair of eyes to keep track of her. I was a single mother for many years, but it’s even harder physically to be a single grandparent. It’s exhausting and I clamor for more.

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