They Call Me Grandma

I’m sorry that I’ve been absent for so long.  I’m trying to process some very painful emotional issues and am having a very difficult time of it.  It all started with a simple act of kindness.

Mom, would you like to meet your new granddaughter?

My sweet daughter brought this sweet new addition to visit me.  I enjoyed getting to know my newest granddaughter.  We snuggled, talked and shared secrets that only Grandma’s know.  This tiny girl brightened my life for four special days.

Of course my daughter could not bring all the children, 1 was in school and one was visiting her mother.  But I did get to enjoy the two youngest, ages 7 weeks and 19 months.  I love being a grandma.

Oh, by the way ….

Fear-Baby-2Of course my daughter could not make the 8 hour drive all by herself so she brought a friend and her two small children.  Who was the friend?  Only her step-mother.  At least she told me who was coming before they got here.  I told my daughter that I wasn’t sure I could handle this, but I would think about it.

Step-mom was very sweet and careful about the whole visit.  She personally contacted us and asked if it would be alright.  She acknowledged that her presence would be difficult for me and offered to stay away during the visit.  She wanted to visit to be all about my daughter and her 2 littlest ones.  Step-mom spoke to my mother and they worked out the rules.

I gave permission for Step-mom to come and join in the visit.

Not at my house.

My older daughter lives close by with her family.  She was, however, going to be out-of-town for 2 of the days.  My son-in-law saved the day.  All visiting parties would be spending nights at their home so that I could have quiet time in the evening to unwind and process the emotions of the day.

This made the visit much easier for me to enjoy.  I was able to enjoy my grandchildren without being overly stressed and emotional.  I did feed everyone.  I made sure that we had all the proper snacks: cheese puffs, bananas, cereal, yogurt, cookies, etc.

Children, children everywhere ….

He knows if you've been badThere is one important fact that should be known.  There were 7 children in this mixed group: a 7 week old girl, a 17 month old boy, an 18 month old girl, a 19 month old girl, a 3-year-old girl, a 6-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl (my youngest daughter).  The toddlers ruled.

Two of the children belonged to my ex-husband and Step-mom.  Not the ones you might think: the 18 month old girl and the 3-year-old girl.  Yes, I have grandchildren older than these two sweet little girls.  The funny thing is, they all call me Grandma.

I wonder how my ex feels about that.

Quiet and Adventure

We spent half the visit just hanging out at the house of Grandmas.  The kids played and ran around.  The toddlers drove us nuts and the quiet was relative.  I really enjoyed my grandchildren and visiting with my daughter and, yes, even Step-mom.

We did take them all to the zoo for an evening.  Two cars, 3 strollers, 7 children (including my youngest), and 4 adults.  I have kept a zoo membership for times like this.  It covered the cost of all 11 of us.  It even covered the carousel ride for the children.  Everyone had a great time and we picked up dinner on the way home.

My Backup

If it weren’t for my parents, my youngest daughter, my oldest daughter and my son-in-law I would not have been able to do this.  My mother monitored my stress levels and buffered when I was struggling.  My youngest daughter took the time to play with the 3 and 6 year-old.  My oldest daughter and son-in-law gave me my evenings to unwind.  My father put up with us all and gave me much-needed encouragement and validation.

The emotional backlash from this adventure has been overwhelming.  I have been walking an emotional sword edge for the last two months and done more crying than I have in years.  I’m not sure how I feel about all of this, but I’m working through it.  It’s hard on my youngest daughter who is only 10 and trying to understand why I’m always so tired and no fun.  She seems to be handling it well though and has been very patient with me.

On the day everyone left I sat down and ate a quarter of a French silk pie.  I have been on high chocolate rations since.