If you’ve read here, even for a short time, you know of my deep love for my family. I LURVS THEM!
When I’m with any of them, they have my full attention. I’m all in, making every moment count. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve lived long enough to know that things can change in a moment and that which we take for granted, like spending time with loved ones, can change in a nano second. So, I cherish the time we do get and you won’t find me distracted or wishing I was doing anything else.
But, uh, Grandma has a life.
YEAH, SHE DOES!
Up until now, since the week Sweet E was born, I have been taken aback by those who question how I can stand to be away from Sweet E for any length of time. What’s stopping me from being there all the time? Am I making plans to move closer? Is it the hardest thing I’ve done? Why aren’t you there right now?
I imagine myself as they must see me: blinking rapidly, while taking in the barrage, trying to process exactly what was being asked, because the questions were obviously deeper than face-value.
Well. Um. I. Uh.
Dadgum-it, I have a life, people. I have a life here, separate from all that warm wonderfulness that is my grandson and his mom and dad.
Their turn to blink and process.
Is having a delicious new grandbaby reason to abandon my Husband, dog and life? Yes. Yes, it is. Will I? No. No, I won’t.
I find it interesting that these are same folks who used to ask me how I could stand to home school because Boy and I spent lots of time together with no back-to-school breaks for me. These are the same folks that asked me if I was relieved when Boy went out of town for college. These are the same folks who insisted I separate more of my life from my child’s as he was growing up.
I find it all very bizarre.
For the record: I loved and would never change the time I spent raising and teaching my son, yet his father and I had a clear goal we kept at the forefront while we charged forward: Get Boy to the place where he can care and be responsible for himself in this world. For him to be able to stand on his own two feet would be the very best we could do by him, as parents. Once he arrived at that legendary place, we stepped back and let him make his way, just as we made ours. In other words, we let go, but didn’t say goodbye.
I’d like to think we did a fine job.
When Boy set off on his own, we remained a close-knit family, yet we were all aware that he needed his space to discover his road. As his parents, we visited, called and kept in touch, yet always aware of what was transpiring: he was finding his way.
When Boy married Girl, we took the same approach: stay close enough to enjoy, yet allow them their privacy as they knit themselves together as one without outside interference.
Now, with that crazy adorable grandbaby? More of the same, except with lots more fun.
Husband and I felt our foremost responsibilities as parents were to love, teach, nurture, then let fly. We did have a kiddo-centric life when Boy was younger, but we loosened our grip with every birthday, until he was ready to flap those wings and GO!
We feel the same now. We have an important role, but it’s not to parent or hover or intrude. It’s to love and encourage and joy in the circle of life.
Yes, it’s tough living 5-hours away from that sweet pea. Yes, I’d love to see Boy and Girl with more regularity.
But, Grandma has a life. A life I love.
We have raised our baby. We have walked our parental path. It’s time to say adios to that Tilt-A-Whirl and get ready for the new ride.
We are entering into an era of pure fun and love with very little of the responsibility that Boy and Girl will shoulder. It’s as it should be.
As we eased into a new reality when Boy went off to college, leaving us with an empty nest and new opportunities, so have we eased into a new reality as grandparents. This reality does not include making their lives, ours. Nobody, most of all them, wants that.
Will I rearrange my schedule if they need me? Hell, yes. Will I make sure they have what they need, if asked? Affirmative. Will I drop everything and race to the computer for a Skype session? Every. Single. Time.
I also have goals, projects, responsibilities and aspirations that would have been impossible to tackle with a child. My home is here, just as theirs is there.
So, nope. I won’t be following them wherever they may go, but my love will. Always.
Some things you can change as a mother; other things remain the same, always and forever.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Grandma’s got a life, baby!