Friday, October 5, 2012

Pack your bags....

Pack your bags. Where? Into parenthood and grandparenthood. The question is: Can you really pack your bag? I think not. No one can prepare enough for the challenges of being a parent and even a grandparent. Each child is a new journey. Each step with a first child is sometimes difficult and yet amazing. Still, you can't pack everything you need, because it changes each day.

"What worked yesterday doesn't work today!" a comment shared by many parental type adults. So very true.

When we lived in Wisconsin, I was fortunate to have classes given by Visiting Nurses that gave us a bit of insight into what we faced as first time mothers. Of course back then, dads were not included. The nurses in the hospital taught us to bathe our babies and to care for their needs. Still with all of that knowledge, I struggled on my own. I learned by hands-on experience. I don't know how often I stumbled onto some way that made my life as a mom easier and wondered why no one had told me about it. I had no family around. We rarely had a babysitter. When I had two sick babes, I tried my best but often fell apart in the process. It is an exhausting job.

So many grandparents say, "Well, at least we can leave them at the end of the day."  That is not always true. Being a grandparent doesn't always come naturally. For many of us, it didn't mean we left at the end of the day. I do not have access to my granddaughters now. My daughter will do anything she can to justify keeping them away. Being a grandparent away from my granddaughters cuts me right to the heart. I sit with my grandbabies wanting my granddaughters to play with these darling babies. But it cannot be. I am learning to be a grandparent without my grandchildren. It is one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

Recently, a new grandmother confided in me that it is taking her awhile to get 'back in the saddle' again. Being away from babies for twenty plus years just might make a grandparent tentative at first. I had two beautiful little girls teach me how to be a decent grandma for these twins. It has been a long journey. My bag is packed pretty full by now.

We can't pack that bag of tricks that makes us instant parents and grandparents. Each child is different and at each age, we, too, are different. I won't be packing any more baby bags. This is the end of my grandchildren. I embrace every minute of watching them grow. I embrace watching my son become a father.

The moments fly. Pack your bag.

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