This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
They say that grandchildren are the greatest gift that you can have and it is true. To have a little person snuggling up to you and saying “I love you granny” is pure heaven. How wonderful it is to be able to take their pain away by distraction and rubbing it better. The joy of an ice cream. The hysterical time we have in the bath. My grandson was three and a half before he realised that Donald Duck wasn’t really talking to him and that it was granny in the corridor. Three wonderful Christmas mornings when Father Christmas had eaten the mince pies. The joy of watching the delight of what Father Christmas had brought. And how did he know? That a garage was just what was wanted! The reindeer didn’t eat the carrots but it didn’t matter – we had them with hummus later!
Now it’s time for the other granny to have those wonderful moments. And I’m pleased for her. She has such a treat in store. Their English accents will set her off for a start.
The warm love that you feel as a grandparent is like no other. It is certainly not the painful aching bursting passion you felt for a lover. Or the solid unadulterated totally spherical love of a parent. No. This is a gentle all engulfing infinite love. It is in itself a manifestation of love. I know I’m waxing lyrical but one day you non-grandmothers will understand what I’m trying to say.
I want to thank my youngest son and DIL for the really happy and fulfilled time I have had with them over these three years. I so very much I appreciate the time I have been blessed with.
I appreciate and count my blessings that I am fit enough to pick up the little ones, feel their perfect skin, smell their newness. Swim, run, laugh. I can even kick a rugby ball and play hide and seek. And I can crawl through the undergrowth on my elbows. Better than that, I can follow instructions and build a Lego model. I don’t mind getting soaking wet when my grandson turns the hose on me .
As my older grandchildren move on in their lives (My eldest son and another wonderful DIL’s two are teenagers already) it is sometimes more difficult to strike a chord with them. But with a bit of Googling and trying to understand what they are interested in, I can still make them laugh. I try to find out what they are thinking. Apart from a few grunts (usually bad timing on my part) they are very nice to me! I find it absolutely fascinating to hear their thoughts and views on life. I am immensely proud of their achievements and always delighted to be included in anything they are doing. When my grandson was in a play recently, I think I suffered worse nerves than him.
I really hope that in time and with education permitting, I will one day be able to take my older ones to see some of the things they perhaps haven’t seen with their parents. I would love to show them how some people, who are not so fortunate as themselves, live. And hope that they too feel they want to help. At the moment I am gladdened and amazed at the width and scope of their education. Both at home and at school. I congratulate their parents on their enormous input.
Being a grandparent allows you to enjoy the fulfilment of the children growing up. You have, to a certain extent, already had experience of this, however it tastes so much sweeter the second time! It’s a double bonus.
I find myself constantly savouring the moment. Something I was never able to do with my own children as as there always seemed to be poverty or the tyranny of the urgent knocking at my door. And that brings me on to – something terribly important in my opinion: one of the most valuable things I have learnt from my eldest son is time management. He is very good at it. He fits in more in a day than I ever managed to. He does it by being focused and disciplined and yet, when he gives you his attention, you feel there is no one else in the room. When I have time with my grandchildren I try not allow anything to detract from my time with them. Time is too precious.
Let me tell you. It’s great being a Granny. It is the most rewarding and heavenly role.
So, I have to face that my youngest son and his family are going home to Sydney. A gorgeous place full of life and vigour and healthy lifestyle. My darling little family go with every blessing in my body. But at the same time I am struggling with sadness. I know I have been given the greatest gift by my generous son and DIL – time with them and their little ones. There has been lots of time in the last three years. And I have so many wonderful memories which I shall go over every day.
Of course I will be visiting them soon. Not too soon of course. They need time to settle in. I won’t cry when we say goodbye. I don’t want to upset the little ones. But I may cry on the way home. Then… I WILL SHAKE MYSELF OFF AND TURN MY CHEST TO THE WIND.
There is a space to fill… and time goes by. Does anyone want a babysitter?