Friday, July 29, 2011

Channeling my inner grandma

I’ve been thinking about a weird thing lately: being a grandparent. I guess it’s not really weird since I spent all week watching Jack and Caroline cavort with their grandparents, but it’s weird in that I never before even considered being a grandparent. Which I want to be. Someday. A long, long time from now. Kind of a lifetime from now.

So on the plane yesterday, while I was trying to ignore some kid screaming so loudly that I prayed the flight attendant would slip Benadryl (or valium) into his juice, I came up with an idea of the grandparent I want to be. I know it’s likely none of you can relate to this, because it’s an odd tangent my brain took, but the beauty of a blog is that my tangents can be indulged, by me if not by you. (And WOW that was a rambling sentence.)

Pretty much, most of how I want to be looks just like my in-laws, who defy the concept of aging and magnify the concept of love.

When I am a grandparent (and I’ll make Whit follow these rules, too):

I will rock hop in a freezing cold creek, or boogey board in a wild ocean, or push a swing in wicked heat. Even if I really, really, really don’t want to.

I will get in buggy paddleboats or go in spooky garages.

I will play Sardines, even if crouching in the bottom of a closet hurts my geriatric knees.

I will always have a favorite baked treat waiting for my grandchildren.

I will be tireless, knowing I can nap the minute they leave.

I will hook worms when my grandson wants to go fishing. (Maybe I’ll make Whit do this one, because YUCK.)

I will never make my child’s spouse feel anything other than loved, welcomed, appreciated and spoiled.

I will listen to my grandchildren tell me long-winded stories about kids I don’t know, books I haven’t read and video games I don’t understand.

I will never tell them they’re laughing too loudly.

I will never limit bedtime stories to one book.

I will love without criticism. I will let my grandchildren be who they are when they’re with me, even if that means they’re moody or crabby or scared of silly things.

Now, I wish I could do all these things as a mother. And maybe I do many of them at one time or another. But being a mother can be kind of hard; I am usually tired, I am always trying to do a million different things, and I always have to worry about consistent and conscientious parenting. And everything else. And, let’s face it, sometimes I have to do the dishes instead of playing cards. And sometimes, after parenting 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, it’s hard to be patient. Or even particularly nice.

And when I’m a grandparent, I will probably look back with envious nostalgia on these trying days now. Perhaps I’ll miss having legs that can run ten miles, or kids crawling into bed with me at night. Perhaps I’ll think reading a chapter in a book, uninterrupted, is kind of boring. Perhaps I’ll even miss being needed so much it’s oppressive.

Maybe. Mainly, though, I’ll appreciate the years I have now and be really, really thankful for the kids I’ve got. And I won’t rush through this time, and I’ll be the very best mother I can. And then, years and years and years from now, I’ll be a kick-ass grandma.

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