Grandparents have super powers
Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Dadee, Dadee she implores him. You would think someone was kidnapping her, but it’s only me her Grammy taking her out of his arms and putting her in the car seat. I’m giving Mama and Dadee a break. They work from home and with raising an 18 month old too, it’s work upon work, laundry load after dishwasher load. I’m in San Diego, 3000 miles from home, to ‘help.’ After a week of finger painting, counting, and colors I have to return to the ‘best coast’ as my sister calls it. I wheel my suitcase out to the drive and she blows me kisses – she even kisses me on the lip. She expresses pure unadulterated glee with my departure…no more wresting her from her beloved Mama and Papa, no more lonely rides to daycare distracting her with Twinkle Twinkle and Baby Shark.
Such is the strange and sacrificial world of grandparenting. We, the invisible ones, fly in, scoop up, rescue, straighten up and then have the wherewithal to leave, not taking rejection personally, of course.
I’m just happy to see her happy. Ah the mystery of it! Grandchildren are the children of our children who are now parents themselves and it’s for them to enjoy the countless milestones, the small epiphanies and the Sisyphean tasks (I’m talking about all the lifting and all the diaper changing. How did I ever do all that? I ask my achy 60 plus self now.)
Grandparents view their adult children and grandchildren as if through binoculars. The small focus lens sees the past – the early love of my husband and I reflected in the pooled brown eyes, the hunch of her shoulder, her whisps of hair much like Grampy’s when he was a toddler. Now the binocular is turned around to the wide angle lens - the future of our progeny: nurses, doctors, lawyers, art makers, teachers. Just as the march of the ancestors trails behind her, possibilities like gingerbread crumbs spread out before her. I don’t need to hold her everyday or kiss her every night (as much as I would like to.) For that’s the gift my children delight in (along with the struggle to put her to bed). I can just think of her from my lofty old age perch and visit in spirit, one that is growing ever so detached from its physical habitat, my disintegrating to dust body.
After her enthusiastic goodbyes at the airport, my daughter texts me to tell me that she queried them repeatedly in the car: “Where Grammy go?”
When I get home, I’ll pick up the phone and there she’ll be - delighted to see me at a safe distance, and these old bones will melt into a heap of buttery love.