A Revised Look at Grandparenting

Eighteen months ago, we welcomed a stranger into our lives. Despite the fact he couldn’t speak any English, he managed to demand we give him a lot of care and attention. He wasn’t concerned about how tired or busy we were, and he certainly didn’t worry about interrupting our sleep. We became his slaves, and yet, we chose to love him.

Since then, his English has greatly improved, and although he still demands a lot of attention, he’s eager to be more independent. But the best thing is the way he has returned our love a million times over.

I blogged about his arrival here in Beginnings.

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Yes, I’m talking about my first grandson, and I’m besotted by him. The intensity of my love for him amazes me. Every new word he says, each new skill he masters, and the way he loves us all back sends sparks through every cell in my body. I often find myself gazing adoringly at him like a preteen experiencing her first big crush.

I’m not surprised about this, and yet I am. Family and friends had told me how special grand parenting was, but I couldn’t know what they meant until I experienced it for myself. On the other hand, I’m not convinced it’s the blood link that makes it special. I honestly believe I could love any baby I had frequent contact with from birth.

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I’ve always loved babies. I love their curiosity, their earnestness, and their unconditional love. I adore sharing the wonders of the world with children, and re-experiencing it all through their eyes. They truly are one of life’s biggest miracles.

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I’ve always thought of the time when my own children were young as the happiest years of my life, and caring for Jasper takes me back to those good times. I’m getting another chance to have that fun time all over again.

And yet, it’s so very different.

Yes, I was happy as a young mother, but a lot was going on in my life. I was torn between wanting to be a full time nurse, and a full time mother. There were more bills to pay, and concerns about our future. My relationship with my husband was far more volatile, and I was often anxious about what other people thought of me/us, Plus, I constantly struggled to keep up with the demands of housework, cooking, and washing for a family of six.

At this stage of my life, most of those concerns are gone, or minimal, and perhaps this is the biggest benefit of grand-parenting. I have time to totally focus on my grandson, to sing to him, read to him, play with him, and just be with him. In the moment.

A song from the 70’s keeps running through my mind : Watching Scotty Grow by Bobby Goldsborough.

That’s what I’m doing these days, watching Jasper grow, and loving every minute of it.

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Although, right now, I wish I’d sometimes get out of the moment and take some decent photos for future moments!

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6 thoughts on “A Revised Look at Grandparenting

  1. How beautiful he is! You sound like an amazing grandmother! I would give so much to have a grandmother like you for my children! Thanks for sharing your amazing love and perspective.

  2. H Juli,

    Another wonderful blog of yours that captures the grandparenting experience. We just recently had our grandkids here for just over a week. We are now able to communicate with Mizuki–just have no words with Yuki who is almost 3 now. We took care of them for two days on our own while Brendan & Mayumi took an overnight visit in Edinburgh and Mizuki (just 6 now) helped us with all the translating and the details of caring for her little brother. What a gem she is! Yuki had his first experience away from his parents overnight and had some difficulty at dinner time when his mother wasn’t there to feed him. Mizuki did a bit of translating for us and then proceeded to fill the role that we were unable to do being strangers to Yuki. She fed him and encouraged him when he needed it.

    Tomorrow we leave for the USA. Robert has a conference in New York City while I will be in New Jersey with my sister, Nancy. After the conference Robert and I will meet up and travel to Iowa City and stay with Kenneth for a couple of days, then to Chicago where Robert is making a therapy tape for APA (American Psychological Association) and then Kenneth, Robert and I will drive the 2000 miles to California to drop off the car there. We are planning a 3 day trek, one day in California and our return to Glasgow.

    We have sold our house in Toledo now, so there is no need to stop there and it feels like a relief not to have the upkeep of a distant house. Now all we need is to get Mom’s house building going so we will have a place to crash in December when we return for Christmas. Because the contractor hasn’t gotten back to mom and the work was originally supposed to start in May, I don’t know how this will work out, but it will and we will just spend more time in Glasgow. Robert is going to 60% time in December which will give him more time to write and to travel for training gigs. I hope he will feel less stressed, but he plans to travel between California & Glasgow every month or 6 weeks. Not sure yet what I will be doing….

    I hope that one of these days we will manage a trip to Australia and we can get together again. I’m also hoping that you and all your family are dong well and that you will continue to enjoy grandparenting and parenting and traveling!

    Love, Diane

    On Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 1:57 PM, Juli Townsends Transition to Home wrote:

    > julitownsend posted: “Eighteen months ago, we welcomed a stranger into our > lives. Despite the fact he couldn’t speak any English, he managed to demand > we give him a lot of care and attention. He wasn’t concerned > about how tired or busy we were, and he certainly didn’t worry ab” >

    • Thanks, Diane.
      How wonderful for you to have two days with your grandchildren, and the remainder of their stay with the whole family. Although, Yuki’s lack of English would make it a little difficult. Maybe you should learn Japanese!
      Jasper’s big sister is six, and I can imagine her giving instructions on how to care for Jasper to a stranger, but she wouldn’t have to translate as well. Being raised bilingual will always be a big plus for Mizuki.
      Will email you soon.

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