I’ve been a grandmother for 13 years. Grandchildren change a woman dramatically. I am never cranky with my four grandkids, unlike when I was raising my daughters. My three and seven-year-old were visiting me and my husband. They were tumbling off my couch into a cushy pool of expensive decorator pillows they had arranged on the floor. I didn’t even care.
Prior Lack of Mother Patience
When my girls’ were young, my patience level was about a one. My youngest child played a major role in perpetuating that one factor. She made it her daily daughterly mission to drive me crazy. School mornings were dreadful. My daughter was a shameless grouch in the morning. Surely, it is no coincidence that her astrological sign is Cancer, symbolized by a crab.
It took a miracle to get her up, fed, dressed, and out the door to school on time. She was only a second grader when I began to long for her graduation day to roll around. I was dog-tired by 8 a.m. each day.
A funny note: My daughter is a Cancer. Her oldest son (13) is a Cancer, too. She spent her birthday in labor. Her son was born the next day. He hates mornings as much as my daughter does. The two of them avoid each other like the plague in the morning. What goes around comes around.
Just Get in the Car
I remember how exhausting the constant knit-picking between my daughters was for me. Essentially, a trip in the car with my girls’ went like this: “I get front seat.” “You had front seat last time.” “No sa. You had front when we went grocery shopping.” “I didn’t go grocery shopping. I was at Wendy’s house.” “No. You did so go grocery shopping. Member you wanted Count Chocular cereal and I didn’t.” “I never wanted Count Chocular cereal, you did.” On and on it went.
If I forced my daughters to take the back seat together in my small car, their conversation was always the same. “Mom, Missy’s leg is touching mine.” “Keep your leg on your own side.” “I can’t help it if I have long legs.” “That’s why we call you a giraffe.” “Mom, Danielle is calling me a giraffe again.” Oh, please, stop the madness.
The madness did stop; once they left home. A brief respite of glorious “me” time and I was ready to tackle the next phase of my life in a much calmer manner.
Newly Acquired Grandmother Patience
Perhaps authentic patience comes later in life. It did for me. I have an abundant reserve of patience I rely on for my four grandchildren. There is nothing they do that actually rattles me.
Well, I admit I was a bit freaked when my grandson inadvertently drove his four-wheeler right through my August Moon hosta plants. I bit my tongue, though. If that was one of my daughters, people a town over would have heard me hollering. Over time, that attitude certainly changed.
I Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
I am OK now with neon blue toothpaste on my pretty hand towels. I no longer scream when I hear rocks and Barbie doll shoes agonizingly shoot into the vacuum.
At this moment, you may discover pepperoni, Cheerios, French fries or chicken nugget fossils under the cushions of my love seat. The space in my home where order finally reigned after my daughters left is filled with enchanting chaos once again.
You will find my house cluttered with boxes of broken helicopters, race cars, fire trucks, and angelic-faced dolls with scary matted hair. There are enough books to open a children’s library.
Stashed behind my antique wing-back chair are wicker baskets full of little people treasures: they are mostly odds and ends things that are missing parts or the kids have outgrown.
Patient Keeper of the Treasures
I mentioned to my grandkids recently that it might be time to weed through all their stuff. I noted that many of the toys were broken. They should be thrown away. Of course, all those old things suddenly took on special meaning for them. Parting with things can trigger that separation anxiety. It’s all good, though. I will let the kids decide when the time is right. You see, I have the patience now to wait it out.