We’re enjoying the benefits of being parents of young kids again, without the kids.
When the girls were in after-school activities and sporting events, it was a schedule full of rushing from place to place, event to event and then, just as quickly, it was over, and it was a matter of adjusting to being an empty nester.
The days of searching for the one missing soccer sock, doing homework while eating a fast food dinner and cramming as many activities into a weekend as possible became a memory, and it seemed to happen overnight. One day I’m running them to practice, and the next they were off to make families of their own. At one point I remember looking forward to the day I no longer had to be a chauffeur and then – poof – it was over, and I wished it wasn’t. I tell our adult children to cherish these busy times and they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind.
Just when I thought I’d mastered the empty nest syndrome and took up gardening instead, the grandkids went from babies to kids. I thought the crazy busyness was fun when my kids were home, but now, with the luxury of not having to get anyone ready, except for ourselves, I’m thinking this grandparent gig is the way to enjoy the activities shuffle without the stress. The only thing stressing me out now are the weeds accumulating in the garden.
During one weekend we attended a T-ball game, multiple baseball games and a dance competition. We laughed, to ourselves of course, when we strolled in, at our own pace, and saw the adult children racing around like we did once upon a time to get everyone in their uniforms/outfits, just in time to wait. The hurry-up-and-wait doesn’t apply to grandparents as we only have to show up early enough to set up our chairs, pull out the sunscreen and get a hot dog.
We bought larger-than-life fold up chairs, in a bag, and also use the stadium cushion seats, just for some extra padding. I thought I had a great idea when I suggested duct taping an umbrella to the back of the chairs for some extra shading, but he nixed that idea. There’s nothing that says “grandparent” like an umbrella duct taped to the back of a chair.
The grandkids don’t usually have much to say after their performance/game, but I can see it in their eyes when they look around to see if Papa and Gigi are there, it’s important to them. I love watching them. Even when my back feels as though it’s breaking in two from sitting too long or my feet go to sleep, it’s worth every ache and pain to be there.
Everything was going great until the teenager collecting money to enter the tournament gave us the senior citizen discount.
I do love the grandma gig, I’m just not ready to look like one.
Sandy Turner is a GateHouse Media columnist.