Depending on any given day, my thoughts can range from “I sure do miss those days,” to “I don’t miss that.”
As much as I love being a mother and struggled with every milestone of their lives, knowing it would bring them closer to leaving my side, I never imagined how “grand” being a grandparent would be. It’s the best of both worlds – being able to focus all of your energy on the grandkids, knowing at the end of the play date, the recliner will be calling my name instead of a little person who can say mom 100 times in 10 minutes.
It took a while to get to the age I was OK with the fact neither of the girls needed me. There was a span of time, between them becoming adults but before they had kids of their own, it seemed I’d lost my role in life and struggled to figure out how to become an empty-nester.
Now, with grandchildren, there’s a purpose in my step, as I enjoy being needed, whether to be asked to tag along to events to help with the kids or to watch a sick one so mom can go to work, I love my role as Gigi.
When the grandkids are sick, and even though I worry about them from the comfort of my recliner, I can honestly say I don’t miss those days – the long nights and worrisome days when your child is ill and you’re at the mercy of a doctor and medicine to make everything better. Even worse is when it’s uncertain what the problem may be.
Recently one of the 6-year-old grandsons was complaining of a stomach ache and it was hard for the doctor to pinpoint what the problem was. I promised him I would bring lunch to school Monday as he was nervous he was going to have another stomach ache and have to go the nurse’s office. I showed up 30 minutes early, as I hadn’t been to his school before, and sat at the parents table with his cheeseburger in tow and waited. After watching five classes of kids go into the lunchroom I finally asked someone when the kindergarten classes would be coming. I was sitting in the wrong lunchroom.
By the time I got to him, he’d already eaten the lunch his mom had packed. He was thrilled to see me, even though I was late. I ate the cheeseburger and cheddar bites I brought for him and then finished off the rest of his lunch from home. Thank goodness he didn’t get a stomach ache that afternoon, although I did, after worrying I’d let him eat two lunches.
Sitting in the school lunchroom, watching him scarf down his food between spouts of giggles and waves to his classmates, I thought, “I sure do miss those days of having kids in grade school.”
The next morning the kindergartener’s mom called to report no stomach aches, although the 2-year-old was throwing a fit because she wanted to wear boots to daycare that were three sizes too big.
I don’t miss that.
Sandy Turner is a GateHouse Media columnist.