Two or three days a week we have the privilege of 'watching' Sophia so Tim and Anne can continue to work. This means that on those days, everything Jan and I do takes a back seat to doing what Sophie wants/needs. On just about all of these days, I wind up being thankful that I am retired and can watch each little change that takes place in her. I don't remember spending as much time with Jen and Tim when they were this age, and when Jolie and Jeslyn were babies I was still working. This means some days I stay off the computer, partly because Sophia loves to hammer the keyboard and watch the pictures change. She has her own keyboard on the floor, but tires of it quickly because nothing happens when she hammers that one. I have to be vigilant when she's in my lap hammering on mine, so that I don't miss messages like "do you really want to shut down? you have unsaved material."
This morning was both typical and atypical. She was asleep when I picked her up, and just waking up when I got her home. Normally when she wakes she can't wait to get out of her carseat, but lately she's had times when she wants to sit in the car seat (facing it) and play with the buckles and straps. Today was one of those days, so I wound up carrying her and the seat into the house. Jan and I are sure she's trying to figure out how the latches work, and heaven help us the day she is strong enough to use that knowledge!
She also likes to play with her stroller, especially when the tray is loose so she can open/close it at will. This put her next to our set of 100 markers that actually belong to Jeslyn. She loves to pull all of the markers out of the base, then play the game where she's the tornado and each marker is a mobile home. She doesn't rest until they are strewn all over the living room. If I then come in and line up some markers in orderly fashion, she is quick to come and cure me of that desire.
Eventually she crawls out for some outside/porch time. She's become enamored with steps, climbing up and down, and is pretty careful. But just in case, I'm right there with her ready to catch her if she falls. Because I'm bent that way, I realize this is an object lesson for me. She has no idea I am there protecting her from disaster, and would only notice my absence if she fell and hurt herself. And in an "aha" moment, I realize I have no idea the number of times God is there ready to catch me when I make a misstep. I do notice when he lets me go ahead and finish messing up on my own. Perhaps as an indication she is steadily growing, something happened this morning that had not happened before. We were on the back porch and she was getting close to the steps with her back to them. So I took my hand and rested it in the small of her back. That seemed to bother her, so I took it away. She looked up at me, grabbed my hand, and placed it back in the place it had been. Kind of, "I know you're taking care of me, keep it up." Probably reading too much into that but that's what I'm choosing to believe.
We watched a little of "Bolt" on Disney and it engrossed her for awhile. Of course she got tired of it before I did, so we went for a walk and I missed the ending of the movie! We walked in the stroller for almost an hour, and she examined every person, car and bush along the way. I then handed her over to Jan, because she's in charge of the "feeding and putting her down for her nap" part.
So, it's 11:15 and this is the first time I've had any time to myself. And that suits me just fine. By now you've probably stopped reading because all of the above stuff may be very boring/maudlin to you. Each day I'm with her, though, especially when I feel a little put upon because she's SO demanding of our time, I then become grateful when I consider the alternative. Jen, Jeff, Jolie and Jeslyn live 3 miles away. Tim and Anne are 45 minutes away, but work 15 minutes away. We have been "on call" grandparents for over 12 years now, and sometimes it means we can't go on a few-day getaway. Sometimes our plans change at the last minute because of a crisis of some sort with the parents of our grandchildren. Sometimes Sophia becomes demanding while I'm eating and I wind up eating a cold lunch/dinner. (the same goes for Jan, obviously)(Meaning she sometimes changes plans, eats cold meals, etc,. NOT that she becomes demanding and makes me eat cold food!)
Before I let any of that lead to a pity party, I think of my friends David and Anita. I've known them since I was Jeslyn's age. They live in Central California. Their grandkids currently live in North Carolina. Their 2- or 3- year old grandchild tells her friends that Grandma lives at the airport and sometimes they go pick her up and she stays with them. We had lunch with them recently, and they talked about finding a way to spend 6 months to a year in North Carolina. Even that has some built-in drawbacks. So we are blessed to be able to be on-call grandparents.
Jan sometimes says no to the emergencies because she's just too tired. Being the thinker I am, I keep reminding her that this is not a permanent situation. In fact we will look back on it and realize how fleeting it was. It's already beginning, to a point. Jolie will be in 7th grade this year, is more independent, and has parents of friends who are more than happy to have her around before and after school. So this year we will have no regular "Jolie days." Jeslyn reminds us that she can be alone with just her sister or by herself with no problems. Soon Sophia will be in pre-school and then school, and since her parents live in Riverside we may experience Grandparents Empty Nest sooner than we're ready.
So, whenever physically possible, the answer to "Dad, can you.....?", the answer will be still be yes. "All too soon, the clock will strike midnight...." and Cinderella(s) will be gone. It's been an amazingly blessed run, and I'm going to ride it for as long as I can.
6 years ago