Monday, October 25, 2010


"Little girls, little girls, everywhere around I can see them." Carol Burnett as Mrs. Hannigan belted the song from "Annie". I sat in the bathtub immersed in the water echoing the same.

Only three girls were invited to the party.Two adults for four girls, counting Gabby, seemed reasonable. In fact there were for most of the evening six adults watching over four girls. The sound level was elevated at least 20 decibels. Being quick on ones feet was an advantage while the girls ran from room to room searching out the hidden birthday girl. With each squeal, my nerves found a new edge on which they teetered. Gabby is turning nine.

I have an all new respect for grandparents who raise their grandchildren. On most days, I think I'm a pretty energetic person. The girls have had friends over for play days at my house. Busy activities and the piano seemed to entertain them for a couple of hours. I've had the girls overnight with a friend. No problem. Lots of fun. So why does the number four wear me out?

The party was held at the bowling alley. Adults on one lane. Girls on the other. Side by side they bowled, laughed and most of the time screamed with delight dancing around, swinging one another full of life and energy. I sat wishing for earplugs and book by a cozy fire. Sure, I was enjoying the kids and especially Gabby delighting in her party, but somewhere across the years, I've gotten tired. I need space. I'm not the same as I was back then.

My parents had me when they were in their mid 30's. They didn't play much with me and seemed to relate more to the older teens. I more or less tagged along learning to relate better to the older generation than I did with kids my own age. I didn't grow up babysitting so hanging with smaller children was not comfortable as well. Then along comes parenting. I'm not so sure I did that very well. You do the best you can with what you know, I guess.

As a grandparent, I've learned that no two moments are going to be the same. I've tried to learn by observing and listening. All in all, I think for the most part I'm doing a decent job. That is, until I am on audio and energy overload.

Bowling was a success. It was midnight. Four exhausted girls fell into their sleeping bags and quickly asleep. Early the next morning I heard giggles. After awhile, I trundled downstairs. The girls were sitting up talking as little girls do. I sat down in the small circle of girls and was immediately filled in on the quality of sleep with the pokes and sneezes and flailing arms. They talked about the night before and were all hungry for breakfast.

The girls were picked up. Gabby was grumpy and tired. I was informed that Mommy was going to take a nap. Since I was house sitting for my son, I retreated immediately to that nest falling into bed beneath the feather down comforter.

The party was two nights ago. I wasn't sure I was going to live yesterday spending most of it on the sofa wrapped in my terry robe. I slept for twelve hours last night. Today I know I will live.

The next birthday will roll around. I will once more pull up my energies and wholeheartedly dive into the fray. The body is older. I think perhaps the tolerance is a bit thinner. But this is their time. My time comes during recuperation.

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