Written by Betty Streff
The grandma gig is awesome! If being a mom wasn’t enough of a chance to be part of a miracle, this certainly is!! Just as youth is said to be wasted on the young, we do miss out on so much being young, overwhelmingly busy and tired parents. I think that is why God, in his infinite wisdom and generous sense of humor, gives us a second chance; an encore if you will, to do it differently the second time around.
I burned the candle at both ends and even in the middle trying to keep everything running smoothly at home and work. The thing I remember most is the grinding fatigue when little people had trouble settling down at night or were sick or frightened. Routine was everything-essential to function and when it stalled out, chaos and emotions flared. Sleep then was our holy grail- longed for but seldom found in sufficient quantity.
Many grandmas today are still working outside the home and many have the additional responsibility of helping elderly parents with their physical and emotional needs, a dimension that wasn’t there during our young mom days. Many of us “recycled moms” exemplify the so-called generational sandwich- helping both up and down, still busy and often over committed.
The difference this time around is the delicious realization that there will never be enough time, only the time we have right now! Kids grow up way too fast- we saw that first hand and I think for most of us it goes even faster this time. If we’ll admit it, we now concede that we’ll never have it all together-and perfection is not going to be achieved in this earthly life.
So, may offer this advice? It’s not about us, grandma, it’s about the kids. Our job is to listen with intent and be present in the moment. We know now that it’s okay to let some things go undone. Laugh and allow yourself to play and be silly this time around. Children often confide more readily in grandparents than their own parents and they listen – but more importantly watch everything we do.
Be the anchor, be the shelter, be the example, be the confidant. This is our opportunity to share wisdom, patience, gentleness, and all the fruits of our spirit, now grown mature. It’s not about the gifts we give them but the time spent together. The popcorn in the couch cushions, toast crumbs under the table, rumpled towels on the floor and forgotten ball gloves are just evidence that life was shared here and we are so lucky to be a part of it!
Young kids don’t last, but memories do.