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Grandparent’s Secret Handshake

I went to check my mail and my neighbor met me out front.  John is a great neighbor.  He and his wife Marilyn regularly babysit Dexter (as we babysit theirs).  You remember Dexter:

Dexter!

Not only are they neighbors whom we trust with our house keys, but they were a large part of Boy’s youth; they were the next door neighbor grandparents.

So, we’re out in the front yard talking about life and I give him a head’s up that I’ll be traveling again soon to babysit Sweet E for an entire week.  WHEEE!  There’s a small lull in the convo and then he asks, “Everything OK?”

Lawsy, lately I’m as transparent as Saran Wrap.

I start, “You know how you’re so excited to see those wonderful babies (he has two)?”

“Yep.”  (he really talks like that)

“While I am thrilled that I’ve been asked back and get to spend this time with E, I can’t help but remember how hard it was to leave them the last time and, damn, it’s the saddest thing to me.” (I try hard not to cry here)

John nods, and dare I say has the beginnings of a tear in his eye.

“I wouldn’t trade that Boy and Girl are comfortable with me there and trust me with their sweet baby, but how the hell did you do it all those years?!”  (his grands are STATES away)

He thinks for a minute, then gives me the grandparent secret handshake: “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Not being able to see them….it was hard.”

While the joy of being a grandparent is a given, the less talked about heartache of being a grandparent is that each time you separate from those amazing miracles it cuts you to the marrow.

Thus, the bawling in the car as you drive home and skipping your favorite burger joint because you just. don’t. have. the. appetite.  Yep, it’s that bad.  Nary an exaggeration in those last two sentences.

I will thrill in each lovely moment of this visit; I will.  I will shun the reality that soon I must go home and leave behind not only Sweet E, but Boy and Girl as well.

When I get in the car to drive home, I’ll remember John’s words: It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I’m thankful he showed me the secret handshake because there’s strength in knowing others have been where you are and have survived.  There’s also strength in knowing one day I’ll pass the handshake on to another, allowing them some peace in their pain.

I’ll also remember that only when one is given the gift of loving this deeply has one lived.  I’m grateful for the blessing TO LIVE!

Sure, it makes my eyes leak, but I’m grateful.

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Friday Baby Shower #25 - CKD reset theme

Thursday 4th of December 2014

[…] posts on being a grandma from Mrs Tucker & Seasoned Home […]

Vicki Valenta

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

Even though we are only two hours away, I am always a little bit jealous of the other grandparents because they live in the same town as our shared grand children.

You did a lovely job of capturing the feeling when they leave us or we leave them.

Mrs. Tucker

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

It's tough, no doubt about it, but I'm grateful this is my biggest problem in life right now! (I'll be leaving on Saturday. No doubt crying all the way home....sans my favorite hamburger.)

Laurie @ Pride in Photos

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

Such a beautiful post...

Mrs. Tucker

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

Thank you...

Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

Monday 1st of April 2013

What a touching story, I can totally relate. Our oldest son lives by us and we get to spend a lot of time with our 2 granddaughters. They get to go with us on vacations and day trips all the time. We love it! Our daughter lives almost 10 hours away with our other 5 little grandchildren. We try to go see them as much as we can, it's the hardest thing in the world to be missing out on so much of their growing up. The three oldest lived with us for a couple of years and we've always been so close to them. I'm like you I love the European family. Love all the comments too! Being a grandparent is the greatest blessing in my life. Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

Mrs. Tucker

Monday 1st of April 2013

It's heartening to read everyone's stories. Thanks for offering yours.

Kaye Swain

Sunday 31st of March 2013

It is hard, isn't it? I'm currently blessed by living near one set of grandkids. So when I go to visit and leave to go home I am also going back to another set of grandkids. That definitely helps. Someday that may change and I know it will be much harder. But, as you wisely point out, always SO well worth it!

Mrs. Tucker

Sunday 31st of March 2013

It is hard, but also worth it, no doubt.