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Monday, 21 February 2011

Back in the Saddle

By Kristine Scholz of a shelter from the storm

I became a mother for the first time 34-1/2 years ago. Two years and one day later, I became a mother again. I was a good mother, a hands’ on mother.

My husband worked days and I worked part-time evening shifts at a local hospital so our children weren’t in day care. I spent the majority of my time with my children.

I had a wonderful network of friends who were stay-at-home moms. When things became too intense or we needed to make an adult connection during the day, we networked via land line telephones. Personal computers, cell phones - somewhere off in the future and not even dreamed of yet.

In 2006, I was approached by my son and asked if I’d consider doing the day care for my yet-to-be-born first grandchild. I’d had only a few years of much anticipated independence since my two children had reached adulthood. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hop back in to that saddle again. But after doing some serious soul searching, I agreed.

Almost five years later, I now have two young grandsons. I’m a stay-at-home grandmother. My days are filled with the same aggravations, weariness and frustrations I felt when my children were toddlers. And yet, this time around there’s a difference.

This time I know how fleeting these years are. This time I know how important it is to stop and smell the roses. When I receive sweaty hugs, sticky kisses, I savor that delicious odor of “little boy” scent in my arms.

There are endless hours to walk and talk and play Hide-and-Go-Seek. By the end of Friday afternoon I’m ready for a couple of days to recharge my battery.

But I wouldn’t exchange this time with my grandsons for anything in the world.

People tell me I’m crazy. People can’t understand why I sacrifice my “golden years” time this way. I’ll tell you why. It keeps me young.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Wow, you have written about such a "real" issue of "older" women that lots of people have opinions about, but it's the first time I have ever read anything on the subject..Great presentation.
I had the luxury of being a stay at home Mom & had 3 children, l964, l965 and l967. Sometimes I worked a day on the weekends while their Dad spent the day with them. He acted as though he were babysitting, not a happy camper. But that's another whole tale.
I had the opportunity to help out my son and for about 2 1/2 years got to see my oldest Granddaughter a lot; at 3 they moved across the country, but our bond has held steady, she is 21..My daughter lost her full time baby sitter for my next granddaughter and I was able to take my vacation days every Friday to spend the day with her for 6 months..She is now l5..I would never have known her if not for those all day visits. My son also has 4 sons, but because of life and distance, I know them, but not at all like I do their sister and their cousin. Those early bonds are a blessing to me. I too had friends who tsk, tsked my "being used" by my children. I didn't see it that way then and most surely don't see it now. It may very well keep you young, bless you for having the energy. I was a younger "Nanny" then, you are a trooper for sure. I wish I had had those relationships with the four grandsons, esp since it turned out they would always be living far, far away, but that's life. It is great for you to share this because there are lots of women out there doing the same and lots of opinions about it. Probably a good thing for your children to realize also; your grandsons will never forget the experience either. I agree with your premise that as young Moms we were rather oblivious to the little things of raising kids than we are as "real adults." My 3 kids were amazed at how much fun I found it to do things with both grands that I never had had time to do with them, especially separately..I once let my granddaughter, the elder, paint a l6x20 drawing with my daughter's vast collection of nail polishes. Who knew nail polish can cost $l0! I did not repeat that error when sitting with her daughter. Good for you Nanny, enjoy the time, esp. if it keeps you young...Mary

Dear Kristine, we had our last child when we were 48 so we spent our 50 to mid 70ies years raising and enjoying this great son. On balance we got as much, if not more fun than we hope he did.

Our later years should be filled with men, women, children and dogs of all ages. Joe

Lovely story, Kristine but as as a long-time lurker/reader of Time Goes By, I can't help asking about your last sentence: what's wrong with being old?

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be enjoying caring for your grandsons so much or be as good at it if it were not for all those years behind you.

It would be so nice to have that acknowledged.

Kristine, it isn't just you women who experience the rush that is our lives passing by when we see young couples with children and our memory goes into overdrive. Our lives go by too fast and there is no slowing it down. There are moments I crave to live over and luckily you can through your grandchildren. Our children are scattered to three far away states so we only get photos and short blurbs, but it is something anyway. Good post even if it does bring on nostalgia.

Kristine, there are rewards beyond measure for being a second mother to your grandchildren.

I was only able to do so for a very short time because my grandchildren live in another state, but I treasure the memory of those wonderful days bonding with my granddaughters, sticky kisses and all.

In reply to Jessie, your comment was well taken. When I made the statement about this experience "keeping me young" I didn't mean it quite so literally as I think you took it. It's awfully hard to explain thoughts when there are word limits on something we write, ha! By saying it keeps me young, what I meant is it keeps me young at HEART. It keeps me active and alive, connected to the younger generation. I will NEVER be 'old' in that sense. My life has been and still is very centered around children, and I love seeing life through their eyes. I hope this explains it a little more clearly, and thank you for pointing this out to me.

I was a young grandmother and loved being a vital part of my first grandchild's life. It hasn't been as feasible with the other 4 because of distance and illness, but now I'm having another chance with great-grands and loving it! In fact, if I live long enough, I'm trying to arrange to move nearer some of them so I can take part in their lives as I did with their dad.
I am envious, Kristine

Thank you all who took the time to comment. I appreciated hearing what you had to say very much. I am embarking on a Midlife Adventure, our entire family moving to Michigan within the next week. I am so truly blessed to be able to move along with my adult children and grandchildren, as well as my husband. Change is good, no matter what age a person may be!

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