My youngest stepdaughter and her husband are expecting their first child… any second now. She is in the hospital on bedrest hoping to hold out for one more week. As a speech language pathologist, I know that 34 weeks is good, but 35 or even 36 is better.. and any day after that an added bonus to ensure his brain and lungs have fully matured. They have done everything right. They bought the house, went on trips, settled down and then started their family.
This is the grandchild I get to finally be a “regular” grandmother. The oldest stepdaughter’s children are now my children, with discipline and homework and the drudgery that comes with everyday life. My second stepdaughter had her children young, and they are wonderful and I love them beyond all measure, but they grew up with my biological children and often had to take a back seat. This child, this boy has been waited for with baited breath. This one I hope I can be the grandmother I always thought I would be.
I have in my mind the kind of grandmother I thought I would be. The kind who has time to listen to stories. The kind who plays cardgames and board games for hours on a hot summer afternoon. The kind who makes cookies and snuggles with books on the couch with a grandchild.. or two.
Knowing that I am still going to be raising my littles for at least another ten years makes me think I won’t get to be that grandmother for grandchild #7, but I am hoping I will get to try. It also makes me very sad for the grand kids living in my house. In day to day life, they do not get the good grandma.. They get grouchy, tired grandma. I don’t have time or patience for games or fun, I have to make sure homework is done, lunches are made and everyone has clothes for tomorrow.
I worry for my son, who at 16 has to help me wrangle children and socks, dogs and the lawn when his dad is working. He doesn’t get the one-on-one Mom time that he thought he would get when his sister went off to college. He has to share me. His schedule is just another spot on the calendar, another logistic to arrange amidst the chaos of daily activities.
I’m still waiting for life to settle into a normal routine. After almost 3 years, I thought it would be easier, not harder, but it is. The first year, I had energy, I had optimism and dreams to maintain my good grandmother dream. I drove up and down the east coast. We went to museums and zoos and concerts. I made lovely lunches and we prayed together in the evenings. Now we run.. here and there and everywhere. There are always chores to be done and dogs to be walked. Life gets in the way.. and when my husband and I do have down time, we squander it with naps, reading and playing on the IPAD.
I understand now, why my babysister (youngest of 8) got away with so much .. my parents were tired! They never had the time to be coaches or volunteer that I could remember, they were either working or at home. They knew how to have a good time and they loved each other with a passion (obviously) .. but by the time my mother was my age, her youngest was only 5 and she still had seven kids at home! I don’t know how she did it. Her oldest grandchildren were not much older than her youngest child and yet, she was a wonderful grandmother to them, and even to her great grandchildren now.. I don’t know how she does it.. she set the bar pretty high. Everyday, I wake up and I pray for strength. I pray to be the mother/grandmother I need to be.. and I pray that we don’t run out of coffee.