A Sound Investment

GfmVigVWRjm+IR38uLJhMgEver since his daycare closed, I’ve been spending four days a week caring for my two-year old grandson.  It’s been a rewarding experience in many ways, and also an exhausting one.  I’ve learned a lot in the past seven weeks, including the fact that I’m not as young as I used to be.  I used to complain that I look so much older than I actually feel, but no more.  Nowadays I look in the mirror and see the wrinkles and sags and think, “Yep.  That’s about right.”

I’ve learned to limit the amount of time my grandson spends in front of the television set, and not just because every child expert warns against too much screen time for toddlers.  Honestly, there are just so many shows I can watch before I overdose on cute little characters with enormous eyes and amazing gadgets, busy going on missions and singing about whatever lesson they learned in this episode.   Limiting screen time may be good for his development, but it’s absolutely necessary for my sanity.

The most helpful thing babysitting my grandson has taught me is how to deal with annoying people.  Whenever I  won’t let him do something he wants to do (like playing catch with my crystal candy dish), he tells me, “Walk away, Grandma!”  I was taken aback the first time he said it, but then I realized what a handy saying it actually is.  Whenever someone is bothering me, I can just tell them, “Walk away!”  Who knew it was that simple?

But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that all the time and effort that goes into raising a child is absolutely worth it.  Because eventually, those children grow up to become adults and those adult sons and daughters can enrich your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.  The child you once taught how to eat with a fork and spoon can become the same person who teaches you how to fix a problem with your computer.  The child whose “boo-boos” you kissed and bandaged can someday be the person who soothes your pain and calms your fears.

This morning I was a little overwhelmed with all the craziness that is going on in the world, and a bit depressed by how many people seem to be using this disaster as a chance to further their own agendas and lash out at the people they never liked in the first place.  My fears and frustrations came out in texts to my daughter, and then I immediately felt guilty for “dumping” on her.  I’m the mom, after all.  So I’m supposed to be the strong one, right?

But not this time.  This time, my daughter was the strong and encouraging one, pointing out the need to limit my exposure to the negativity and to pay attention to the positive things these changes have brought about.  And it helped, enormously.  Just as it helps when I talk to my son, who has such a clear-headed and confident way of looking at things that I sometimes wonder if we’re actually related, because he certainly didn’t get that from me.

So yeah, I’m pretty tired these days and no longer believe that I’m particularly young, but I’m okay with that.  Like all children everywhere, my grandson is absolutely worth all the time and effort that we can give him.  And someday, when he grows up to become an adult with his own unique gifts, I can only hope I’ll be around to share in them.

82 thoughts on “A Sound Investment

  1. Your grandson is so lucky to have you! I am so glad you have had this time with him. Kids do make us laugh and that is very good for grownups right now!!! I absolutely loved raising my four children…I know they have taught me so much about life. They have their own unique perspective to bring to any given situation… Sometimes, I think, why didn’t I think of that? Then, I thank God for my children!!!

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    • You’re so right, Linda…our kids can teach us just as much as we teach them. And that’s one of the reasons they are such a gift to us. I admit I never realized when they were young that I would often be getting advice from them as I grew older, but that’s certainly the case. And I’m so glad too!

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  2. You are so blessed to have him there Ann … I have two close friends that have waited way too long to become grandparents but finally they are. They have a cute collection of photos but are not able to see or hold their first grandchild … a new form of torture!

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    • I can’t imagine how hard that would be, Kate! I have a good friend whose only son has two children, but they live hundreds of miles away and she only gets to see them two or three times a year. It’s so hard when we live so far away from any loved one, but particularly grandchildren. I’m very lucky that he lives so close by, and that the granddaughter that will be joining our family soon will also live nearby.

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  3. Although, for now, you are the recipient of these treasured days with your grandson, it will be his treasured memories of you long after you’re gone. You are stamping your life into his each time you are together. What a gift!

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    • You’re right, Alan! Our time together may wear me out now and then, but it’s so worth it because I’m getting to know him so much better than I ever did. These memories will always be ours, and our bond is strengthened every day. That’s a precious gift, any way you look at it!

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  4. So much truth in your words, as usual.

    I’m more than a little jealous though of your time spent with your grandson. I’ve three grandchildren who I’ve not seen (other than via video call) since mid March.
    It’s driving me nuts and they can’t fully understand why we can’t go and visit.

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    • I’m so sorry, Mike! I think this pandemic and the restrictions it has brought are hardest on the elderly and the very young. Young children can’t really understand why they can’t see their grandparents, no matter how hard we try to explain it. Hopefully, it will be that much sweeter when you are finally able to get together!

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  5. Children really are a blessing. I don’t have any grandchildren and it’s highly likely I never will. But, I enjoy my siblings grandchildren when I see them. Unfortunately with social distancing etc. that may be a while. Lovely post.

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    • I mentioned it to his parents, and they think he heard it at daycare. It might be what the teachers tell them when they get into a conflict with another child, or whatever you call a squabble between one and two-year olds. It sure surprised me the first time he said it!

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  6. Loved the picture of your grandson!!!

    Mother’s Day is always a hard day for me. I guess this one was no different as at one point the Hubby asked if all was ok when I was slamming doors. Never easy living so far from my kids.

    Be safe, be kind to yourself, and walk away when the world seems a bit much. I had to laugh at walk away from a child. From our mouths to Gods ears.

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    • I can see where it would be a very hard day when you live so far away from your children! I would be slamming doors too, I think. And yes, being told to walk away by my grandson struck me as funny too….even though, as you say, sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do when the world’s problems begin to overwhelm us. Take care!!!

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  7. Children certainly have a way of curing us of our many… ills.

    When you’re so tired from office work and cannot imagine doing anything more for the day, come home and take care of a child – and you’ll find reserves of energy you never knew existed because with children, some things just have to be done.

    When the world drains us of hope and light, turn away from it and take care of a child. It’ll be the best – and most complete – time-out, because children, whatever their age, have a way of eclipsing a lot of things.

    When you’re bored, jaded and restless, take on the caring of a child. You’ll be a lot more grateful for the little things in life, including a few sparse minutes to simply stare out of the window.

    I’ve learnt all those lessons before. And with stay-home now, I’m learning them all over again. I bet your four days a week with that beautiful gift of a grandson is lesson time as well!

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    • It certainly is a lesson time! Because you’re right, children do bring out reserves of strength and patience we never knew we had, and we end up learning that we’re much stronger than we thought. Plus, seeing the world through a child’s eyes reminds us of all that is still good….he has no idea we’re in the middle of a pandemic, with so many different ideas of what we should do and so many different predictions of what will happen. He just enjoys what is in front of him, and can be fascinated by something as simple as turning a light off and on. Sometimes we do have to “be like a child” to fully appreciate our world!

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  8. Happy Mother’s Day! Having the youngster around gives a new perspective on things! So nice that you can have the bonding time – too many grandparents aren’t close to their grandchildren. There aren’t the extended families like in times past where there might be 2 to 4 generations under one roof!

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    • I know! I’m so lucky to have my family and grandson close by. It’s kind of sad that extended families don’t live together any more, as that would make these lock-downs so much easier to bear. Maybe this will be a lesson for us all, who knows? I do know I used to think I’d like to retire to a condo. But after the past few weeks, I realize I most certainly do NOT want to live anywhere that doesn’t have a yard. Going outside has been my coping mechanism!

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  9. Hi Ann, Whether you believe it or not, it seems obvious to me that you are responsible for your son and daughter’s lucid wisdom. Now, you are instilling that same thoughtfulness in the next generation. These investments are sure to pay healthy dividends for many years to come. Happy Mother’s Day!

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  10. Lovely post/blog/writing. Yes everytime I pass a mirror I wish I could scoop up the fally off bits and attach them properly. It’s so lucky you can have so much time with the youngling,it will benefit you both,in a relationship so seldom seen these days….another positive thing!

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    • Thank you! And I know what you mean… I wish I could “put things back” too! And I am enjoying the bond I’m forming with my grandson. Soon enough, he’ll be busy with so many things that we won’t have as much time together. I guess that is a silver lining of this pandemic….I’m getting lots of “grandson time” in!

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  11. I’m so thankful I read your blog this morning, Ann. I sure do have things to learn in the place where God has placed me. The time and effort, and extra energy, is definitely worth it. I’m blessed by your reminder of that fact. And I am certainly going to remember to say, “Walk away!” to people and situations that pull me down. Not out loud, though. 🙂 Many blessings to you today.

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    • You are putting in far more effort and time than most mothers do, but you are also seeing the results of that, which is good! I have a huge respect for mothers in your situation. And yes, I think “walk away” is a great reminder for so many of us (especially when we don’t actually say it out loud.) Often, it’s what I need to tell myself when faced with a person or situation that is so very negative. I can choose to walk away rather than engage, which is often the very best thing.

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  12. I really like the observation that the little ones we care for today will some day be there for us. And I do think we learn a few more people skills from dealing with our grandchildren’s unpredictable declarations. I love that “Walk away, Grandma”! A lot of wisdom in this post, Ann. Thanks!

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    • Thanks, Des! Our roles to eventually reverse in life, as I’m seeing with my mother. The good thing is, from what I’ve seen of my own to “kids” these days, I’ll be in good hands when they are the ones who need to help me make my decisions. That’s comforting, to say the least.

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  13. Your experiences with your grandson have taught me some very important lessons. The love for our grandchildren outweighs the troubles and worries that surround us during this pandemic. They take away the negativity and make our frustration and anxiety ‘walk away’. Have a great week, Ann!

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    • You put that so well, Peter! Yes, when I spend time with him I may be physically tired, but I am mentally refreshed, because the anxiety and worry does fade away. I honestly think I’m handling this whole situation better because of my grandson.

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    • I know, Dena! You’d think they would have improved since we were kids, but they have not. They’re different now, but certainly not better. They actually make me nostalgic for “Underdog” and “Romper Room!”

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  14. I so enjoyed reading this tonight. Just what I needed. I like the ‘walk away’ mantra, but I think I’ll use it on myself. When I’m annoyed/freak out by news/worried about things out of my control/etc., I’m going to ‘walk away’ at least mentally. In fact, I might even say to myself, “Walk away, Grandma!”

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  15. The post is a microcosm of entire human life, from infancy to advanced ages, and of energies that we are all gifted with, diverted towards negativity and exploiting others, to tranquility and selfless love. The structure of society as we know it surely under challenge.

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  16. Great article. I have two energetic grand children who just wear me out! They’re exhausting. Wonderful, of course. I admire what you’re doing on a weekly basis.it’s so nice of you to help out.

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    • I’m actually happy to do it, because I do enjoy spending time with him. I’ll admit the hardest part is that he shows up at 7 in the morning, energetic and ready to go! I’m usually just waking up at 7, and I’m one of those people who needs some time before I find my energy in the morning. Sleeping in and going slow in the mornings were habits I developed when my children went away to college, so this is a huge adjustment for me.

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    • It absolutely is! Especially in these days of social media, where everyone and anyone is busy expressing their opinions and telling people they should believe and do. Sometimes I’ll see something that I react to and am tempted to type an answer…stupid, I know….but I never do. And now I’ll actually have the phrase “walk away” when I see that! I like the way you expanded it to a more positive thing, too…”walk away” all those frustrations, stress, and in my case, a couple of extra pounds too!

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  17. Though I don’t have children and grandchildren, I did take care of my mother for the last five years of her life, and it’s remarkable how many parallels there are between the two experiences. We often don’t know just how important routines we’ve developed for ourselves can be until those routines are disrupted — even for the best of reasons. Your preference for a ‘slow wake-up’ is a perfect example. It would be easy to say that’s not a big thing, but it’s your thing, and important. So, on we go — adjusting as best we can, and discovering along the way that there’s always something good to be found in any situation. Granted, it may take a while to find it, but we’ve got plenty of time!

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    • You’re right, it’s often the small adjustments to our routine that seem the hardest. When our entire day is changes, we go with that. But it’s been almost eight weeks now, and I’m still having a hard time getting moving in the morning! All we can do is keep making those adjustments and trust that this situation won’t last forever. Plus, I’m getting to know my grandson so much better, and that is a huge gift!

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  18. It’ll be a cycle of goodness, investing in your child and that child passes along the goodness in their day to day behaviours, perhaps investing it again in their own children… the cycle continues. A very good investment indeed. That’s one clever kid – “walk away”, so simple yet so powerfully effective! What a beautiful post. I hope you can limit your exposure to the negativity because it does get so, so overwhelming at the moment. I’m not an angry person but lately I’ve been incredibly angry, especially with the government, and heartsick with the amount of people so poorly or have already died. Do what you can to distract yourself and to surround yourself with goodness and positivity to even the scales a little. Sending love, stay safe all of you  ♥
    Caz xx

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    • Thank you so much Caz! I know what you mean about the negativity…it just stresses us out, because we can’t change the situation, as much as we would like to. So we have to follow my grandson’s advice and mentally “walk away.” I’m trying very hard to discern between the things I can control and the things I can’t, and to be content with doing my very best at the things I can. Sending love and wishes for safety to you and yours too!

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  19. Well, I’m with you on disliking people who use recent events to further their own agendas, as you well know. A pity they never learned to simply “walk away.”

    And in a completely different subject, it is amazing to watch your kids grow into competence, and the mental reassessment needed when they gain skills that exceed your own. Once that adjustment was made, though, I enjoyed it. For instance, I was truly bummed when my last teenager moved out. Now I had to pay someone to fix my computers for me. : )

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    • I know!! We spend so much of our time and effort raising our kids, watching them grow into independent, caring adults we enjoy being around, and then…..they move out! What’s up with that??? And the worst is, we do lose our “built in tech support!” LOL!

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  20. What a lovely post Ann. I always enjoy reading you. You are such a good storyteller and writer.

    Yup when I accepted my age (63) is when I decided to cut off the brown locks and let the gray come through because I no longer cared that I would “look” older. I AM older. And I am okay with it.

    SO much work being a parent. It honestly was the hardest and most challenging job I had and I have had many. But also the most rewarding and meaningful.

    Peta

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    • Thanks, Peta! That’s the way I feel about parenting too. (And from what I’ve read about your kids, you did a great job raising them.) One of the good things that has come from these strange times is that I’m finally accepting that I’m old too, and am okay with it. I still dye my hair (myself, these days, my hair stylist drops the color off on my porch), but that’s just my defiance of the virus. But I no longer put on make up every day, and I wear what is comfortable without worrying much about what it looks like. I spend most of my days being “grandma” and that’s just fine!

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  21. Even though it’s hard – and I can only imagine how very hard it is since I don’t have children myself – it’s definitely worth all your energy and love, Ann! But try to be nice to yourself from time to time too, and if that means to tell people to walk away that’s perfectly alright. 😊

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    • Thanks, Sarah!!! Yes, sometimes “walk away” is such a wise phrase. We can use it on others who are trying to harm us, even unintentionally, and we can use it on ourselves when we realize that engaging isn’t wise or productive. From the mouth of babes, as they say!

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