Monday, April 9, 2018

Small Packages

I am expecting a grandchild in the fall. It will be my first, so you can imagine my nervousness and excitement. I have long dreamed of this moment, tired of smiling and nodding at the tales of my friends as they uniformly tell me it is the best of times for them. Move over and make room for me.

Yesterday, much of our family gathered at the home of my mother in law, as we celebrated the birthday of my niece. My daughter was there, the bump of my grandchild to be becoming more prominent, her first trimester constant companion, nausea, now thankfully apparently in her rear view mirror.

Also in attendance were the young sons of my niece, now two and four year old mini-mes of their parents. Cute beyond description. The same pair who seem indescribably adorable in those Instagram photos and videos. The ones where my niece, with her wonderful sense of humor, captures in but a few words and a few images the joy in being a mom to these two. And, oh yes, the terror and sheer exhaustion.

From the second they entered until the moment of their exit, they were in motion. Verbally, physically, emotionally they were stuck in the on mode. The blinds became a fascinating toy to shake. The windows to the outside world now the place for a running comment by the two year old on something that was intelligible to a mom and dad but not to the rest of the universe. You know, the age where language is just being acquired and it runs through the sorter of a parent before it comes back in English, through one of them as translator. "He said, daddy's car." Oh.

There was only one minor calamity, a direct hit of head on window. After about a minute or two of that kind of intermittent wail that comes from a child when injury occurs, he was distracted and soon back to doing whatever he was doing before being so rudely interrupted, albeit with a rather sizable egg on his forehead.

And of course, I watched and listened for every response by my daughter to the mayhem, to gauge the level of her joy or trepidation at her own imagined future. She seems so comfortable and playful with these two. It is a good sign.

In the midst of this scene, I asked my niece when she had given up, when she had surrendered to the insanity of being a mom to two young jumping beans. She gave me that half smile that said a thousand words. And you could tell that she and her husband loved every second of it, holding the boys and giving kisses when they weren't wriggling away, taking incredible pictures of the four year old making pancakes with his great grandma, sure to be an Instagram hit when posted.

The four year old never stopped smiling, hardly ever stopped laughing, happy and fascinated by the vent in the floor that blew air and made his hair, and that of his brother, swirl. A box became something else, I am not sure quite what, but whatever it was took on an importance beyond it's seemingly limited purpose.

After lunch ended, the two year old hit the wall. No, not literally like the window. He repeated a phrase for several minutes that was translated into English  as "go home, go home".

About 10 minutes of trying to put shoes and jackets onto moving, squirming targets ensued before success was achieved. And then, suddenly they were gone and the world was suddenly quiet and still. And much less interesting.

Taking care of children is truly a young person's sport, the energy it requires to absorb these cosmic forces of nature seemingly endless. But they are such a joy to watch, their enthusiasm for life so heartwarming, their thrill at turning the smallest, most inconsequential item into something of wonder and importance, their imagination hard at work, their need to explore, understand and find reasons for laughter, boundless. They demand our attention because we are fascinated with how they are experiencing life at a hundred miles per hour.

But for those of us not used to going more than the speed limit, it is exhausting in the watching, and even in the retelling.

So, while I am overjoyed at the thought of becoming one of that elite group of billions known as grandparents and cannot wait for that moment to occur, I must admit that a teeny part of my brain gave a sigh of relief when those two wonderful, thrilling, joyous little kids left the apartment and peace returned.

Hurry up and arrive, my young grandchild to be. I so eagerly await your appearance. But I apologize in advance if sometimes it may appear I am not completely and utterly saddened by your departure. Just give me a moment to catch my breath and then we can start over again. I promise.


Anonymous said...

Really nice! You paint such a picture with your words, I felt like I was there with you observing it all … and smiling ever minute. Thanks for sharing -- in a way that not many people can.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, indeed!! You got it down to the science and a plan!!!!
....Romp and recover, romp and recover.....

Soooo excited for you!



Anonymous said...

Love it.
More, more, more! ��

Anonymous said...

You'll see how great it is.


Anonymous said...

If you want some practice for babysitting the grandkid, you can have the boys anytime you want. No really, when can I drop them off? 😉 Thanks for turning your observations into beautiful words. You really captured the chaos and the joy perfectly


Anonymous said...

You are going to be an amazing Grandfather