Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Joys of Grandparenthood...


"If I'd known being a grandparent was so much fun, I'd have had my grandchildren first"...so goes an old saying. I wonder why that is...perhaps as new parents we carry such a huge responsibility for the little life entrusted us. Although we enjoy them, it's different. Maybe you miss something when you're in the humdrum day to day, 24/7 'stuff'.
But after spending the past couple weeks with our dear daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters (ages 2 & 5) we are rejuvenated. There is nothing as refreshing to the spirit as time spent with small children. Exhausting perhaps. Worth it? Most certainly!
I think it's because once your children are out on their own you can get in a rut with the daily stresses of life. If your children live away from you, you don't get the daily 'doses' of their children...but wow, you sure can cram enough of the 'good stuff' to get you through for some time, long after they go home.
Over the years we've tried to establish traditions when the little ones are here. Not only does it give them a 'remember point' of us when we're not together but it gives us common ground, if you will, for the next time we're together. And it really seems important to them as much as it is to us.
We've already laid a good foundation with Janie, being the older of the two girls. She's been my little "Peanut" since the first time I saw her on the ultrasound. We almost always need to have some kind of special tealight candle burning during breakfast and what would bedtime stories be without the "Grandma & Me" lift the flap book by Karen Katz...yep, if I'm at their house for a month, that's EVERY night! LOL But the fun is not just me reading it now because Janie (and Rori is catching on very quickly) will say the words along as I read. I've had the joy of introducing her to ants & toads and even releasing ladybugs. Now even when I'm not with her when she sees these things she'll say, "I need to buy this for Oma because I know she will LOVE it!" (I have a wonderful ant statue holding a hoe in my kitchen window that I cherish!)
From Opa's point of view, Janie is his little 'Schickmunk" (ok it started as 'chipmunk' but we like the way Janie says it better!) They do garden work together. Planting flowers (called Janie Flames, that she picked out), picking beans, eating berries off our bushes, sharing strawberries, you name it. We'd take some dry bread down the driveway to feed the many chipmunks we have here too. And lest I forget when we talk to her on the phone...when I go to sign off I tell her 'I love you a bushel and a peck" at which point she sings, "and a hug around the neck....and tell Opa I love him too!"
This year was the real 'firsts' with Rori...Last we saw her she was just a year old and didn't get far from her mommy. (And heaven help the person that dared pick her up! LOL) We didn't know what to expect this time and from all that we'd been told, we didn't have high hopes for much interaction with her at all...Well we were in for a pleasant & surprising gift! From day one she gave ALL of us (including my mom and dad) hugs! Wow, shockerooni! And in no time at all, not only was she walking off hand in hand with either her Papa (my dad) or her Opa (Stephen) but she would also run outside leaving her mother and security blanket, to see Opa in the garden or to have him push her on the swing! It was so funny and hard for Hallie to believe...
Now let me preface this next part by saying that before they came to visit there were many times that Rori brought her mother the phone before Hallie even had her eyes open, because Rori wanted to call her Oma! (it comes out more like GoMa or something) But now that she was with me she just wasn't sure I could be trusted. LOL I didn't get nearly the hugs the others got and when I'd try to talk to her the little stinker would turn her head in the opposite direction as if I weren't even there!! And I was the last one to get to actually hold her in my arms too. Even when I'd call her my little Tulip (when I was there for her birth I missed my tulips blooming in the garden so she became my special Tulip) I'd see this sly little avoidance from her. Early on though I could see a twinkle in her eyes when she'd do these things. She was totally teasing me!!! But I was patient and I tried not to push her to like me....sure I tried to win her over by pushing her on the swings, getting her milk and snacks and things like that but I didn't try to hug her or have a conversation with her...Well one night after our bedtime book I reached over her so I could hug Janie...well as I went to pull back SHE stuck her arms out for me, smiling the whole time! She so knew what she was doing too! After we shared a hug I did a "yyesssss" and did that arm thing like you'd do when something goes your way...and when I left the room she said 'yyyesssss' and did the same thing!!!! TOO funny!! And that kinda became 'our thing'....she did it other times when she was happy about something.
She became Opa's 'Punkin' and as he would run the gambit of his other options to call her like 'spaghetti squash' and 'fire ant' (Janie's fav) when he'd get to Punkin she would get the sweetest little grin on her face. She just beemed. He could also spend at least 45 minutes pushing her on the swing! And if by chance, say he needed to go inside for something, when he told her she'd say "ME" which was his cue that she needed to be continuously pushed...what a push over Opa!!
Oh the joys or grandparenthood.....Yyyyyeeessss!

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