When raising your children, as a parent, you use your best judgement. Parenting does not come with a “How To” manual. You remember what your parents taught you. You teach your children to be kind, do their best and you hope for the best. Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball and you need to overcome obstacles. For example, when my children were small, their Father passed away unexpectedly. The boys were only two and six. At that time, I had to make a choice to either dwell on what had gone wrong or pursue and raise the boys on my own. Of course, I choose the latter. I did the best I could; trying to teach them right from wrong, independence, to work their hardest and they would succeed. Again, sometimes things do not always work out the way they are supposed to. Poor choices, bad decisions and peer pressure, sometimes overpower all of the “good” things that a parent tries to teach; Hence, my raising my grandchildren.
Raising your Grandchildren sounds like a breeze, right? I mean, you have done all of this before! I have always been very independent, positive and ready to overcome anything that life throws my way. I dig in, roll up my sleeves and think “I’ve got this”! That’s the attitude I had when I received the call to come and pick up my grandchildren. Had I not chosen to do so, they would have been placed in Foster Care. I was a little apprehensive at first, but then the “can do” attitude kicked in. It had been quite some time since I had changed a diaper or tried to potty train a child. But, you move forward and just, somehow, make it work. Imagine, you are in your 40’s…children have grown and you are at the stage where you can just go as you please. Your friends call for a quick dinner date and you just, spur of the moment, go. Then, bam…. you are back to a time when you need to think about not being late for daycare, babysitters, issues at school and Blue’s Clue’s. It really is funny how much you forget.
Not that I’m complaining… believe me, the joys of raising a grandchild far exceed the effort you need to put into it! The constant questions of why do I need to do that, how come that boy was mean to me and sibling arguing! Sometimes, you question how you did this before! But, when that small child comes to you and gives you a hug and says “thank you” for loving me and tells you they love you…. More than 500 peanut butter sandwiches….. It makes it all worthwhile.
When you pick up your cell phone and realize that a 6 year old has sent text messages to your contacts and recorded the words “Butt, Butt, Butt” on your phone or a 7 year old, who had been playing a game on your cell phone, has sent happy stickers to your Facebook pals… it can be quite comical. Recently, Zacory, the 7 year old send Happy Stickers to a few of my Friends and “liked” several of their comments. Unfortunately, one of my friends had posted that they had slid off the road and crashed their car. That one received a Happy Snoopy Dancing sticker and a Love Heart! They only use their tablets now.
And it is pretty comical when 6 year old Liam comes home from school with a “note” from the Teacher because he told her in class that she was “Not really the Boss because God is the Boss of everyone!”. When asked, he said the Teacher made a mistake… it was “Not Me and My Teach is Crazy”! Hey, I thought, at least he is learning something in Church, right?!
It’s trying when your 6 year old has a tough morning because he is not allowed potato chips for breakfast. Keeps the attitude ALL MORNING! As the bus arrives, kicks his shoes across the lawn and says he is not going to school. So… what does a Grandmother do you ask…. She just grabs the shoes from the lawn, picks up the kid, deposits him on the steps of the bus, hands the shoes to the bus driver and says “Have a Great Day!”
Then there are other days, when on the way to the bus, Liam has to stop and say goodbye to all of the “wormies” in the driveway and tell them ALL to have a great day…every one of them. As we approach the bus, I notice that he has collected a few to bring to school for show and tell. It’s really a good thing we have a patient bus driver. As a matter of fact it is the same bus driver that their parents had!
Or recently when Liam, trying to eat breakfast pizza was making a mess. I took a look only to discover that he was eating with glow in the dark, fake fangs! I had him remove the fangs, I put them on the counter and told him to eat his breakfast. Later, as he boarded the bus, he turned to wave goodbye to me… he then smiled… Yup, glow in the dark fangs and all… I’m sure his teacher appreciated that!
And the word “No!” When raising your Grandchildren the word No starts all over again. No, you cannot wrestle in the house, the living room is NOT a gym. No, you cannot have candy for lunch, even though it had been sneaked into the bedroom. No, you cannot use THAT word even if your friend is says it! No you cannot wear your muddy clothes to school. Although, Zacory reminded me that it was ok for him to wear his muddy clothes to school because it wasn’t like it was Picture Day or anything. He changed his clothes. That night however, I received a note from his teacher that I would need to send a note to school that he needed to now wear glasses. I was surprised because he does not need glasses. I asked Zacory about it and he, very nicely, pulled from his backpack “reading glasses” that he had picked up from my office. Big, Black Rimmed ones. He wore them to school that day because “all the girls told him he was cute with glasses and looked like Harry Potter”. He told his teacher that he now needed glasses and had worn the glasses all day! After letting him know that he really does not need glasses, he told me that he was growing up because he noticed that he has hair on his legs and hairy grownups wear glasses. This came two days after they had missed the bus because Zacory argued with me about wearing a pair of sneakers to school, because all the kids told him those sneakers made his butt look fat! Really, I didn’t realize that it was the shoes that added a few pounds! I wish I had known that all along!
Sometimes you cannot believe what they get into. I was cleaning in the bathroom and heard a pounding noise outside. Thinking that they might be throwing the basketball against the house, I went out to investigate. I discovered TJ, the 13 year old in a tree on the front lawn. Zacory was looking up. I asked what they were doing. TJ exclaimed that he was trying to get Liam. I asked where Liam was? From the roof of my house, came the “no fear” Liam and asked what I needed. I looked up in surprise and immediately told him to come down from there. He explained that he was “only trying to get the cat”! I asked him how he got up there? He said he climbed the tree, the same one TJ was in, and jumped to the roof. We got him down and we cut down the front tree. Did I mention that we call him “Monkey”? My neighbors just LOVE wondering what is going to happen next!
Raising grandchildren does keep you young. You really have no time to slow down to get old! Just the other day in the car, Liam said he smelled something burning… Zacory immediately responded… “Oh, don’t worry about that… It’s only Grammie Debbie’s tires because she is going so fast!” Really?! Most of my family and friends will tell you that I drive like Magoo!
I will leave you with a little advice about raising grandchildren. Not that I’m any expert or anything. Remember, to give lots of hugs, Don’t compare your grandchildren with their parents, they really ARE very different. Try to take each day and make the best of it. These Little People trust you, respect you, look up to you and love you unconditionally. And, remember to take a little time for you to “regroup”. You CAN do this. You ARE awesome! YOU’VE GOT THIS!