Thursday, April 19, 2012

Less is More

I am late in blogging this week. I have been cleaning house. Amazing what a person can accumulate. Of course, my children don't want my good stuff; so it's being boxed and labeled for grandchildren. Someday, they may open a box and have a memory of me and be so glad that I put that good stuff away for them.

And this week I have been asked to facilitate a Grandparent's group, so what a coincidence. You may want to forward this on to your folks. Who said that grandchildren are the reason we have kids? A genius. As the parent of adult children, the golden rule is "keep your doors open and your mouth shut". Talk about walking on eggshells! Don't want to alienate the kids. But they seem to come around when they need something and a babysitting grandparent is a very good thing to have at their beck and call.

Grandchildren give us the opportunity to watch all of human evolution in our living rooms. We marvel over a baby finding her fingers. Grabbing his toes. Uttering a first word. Taking a first step. Sure we took pictures and clapped when our kids amused us but mostly, it was "hurry up", "finish your homework", "be in by eleven", and grow up already. And they did, in the blink of an eye, they are doing just what they are supposed to do and flying the coop. One is not, after all, a model of parenthood if the kids don't leave.

As grandparents, we have the good fortune to appreciate how finite our time with these kids really is. We can say "yes" a lot more than parents can ( in good faith ). We can laze away a whole day watching clouds and butterflies. Dusk in my garden brings bats up high and lightnin' bugs close enough to touch. Forget bedtime, seven books in grandma's bed and then a midnight snack of their own design. Cracking eggs for omelettes in the morning and using "real" butter knives to spread on a thick layer of nutella or apple butter or rosy, red jam. All by themselves, their choice.

Playing ball, shopping for shoes, savoring a frozen yoghurt covered in gummy worms and M&Ms. Swinging, bathing, joking, learning, with all the time in the world, no deadlines to keep. It's a mutual, reciprocal love-in, every time. Funny how they don't have tantrums and do as they are told and mind their manners and we never had a kid like that. What fabulous parents they must have to raise kids so sweet. Who raised them?

No matter how many times everybody tells you to enjoy your family because they grow up so fast, you will be rushing them out the door before they miss the bus, driving the carpool to the practice where your kid never hits the ball, worrying why they can't seem to bring home their math book, again. It's a parent's job to do all that and juggle work and laundry and grocery shopping and paying the bills too. Some how the time flies and you are crying over the cereal aisle ( like I did ) when your baby is gone to an out- of -state school and you don't need to buy the Cap'n Crunch ever again.

Not until your kid says "no Cap'n Crunch for my children" and you find yourself in the cereal aisle, again and low and behold! Cap'n Crunch is whole grain now! Sit down and have a bowl with your grandchildren and plan how many things you can do today. Time flies, they grow up in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, they will be opening those boxes that you packed away today, hoping they will remember what you can never forget.