Tag Archives: babies

Baby-Sitting

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As I write this, in a nearby room, sleeps about 22 pounds of energy, laughter and joy embodied in our thirteen month old granddaughter.  This is our east coast girl and we are  enjoying the quiet, after a few hours of entertaining and ministering to the needs of a little one.  Hanging out with someone who does  not yet use words means there are moments when it is like a game of charades, trying to figure out what has changed her mood, what she is staring at and whether she is tired, hungry or bored with my singing.  I know for a fact that my rehearsal for grandparenting was caring for my own children, and sometimes I forgot my lines and my patience was in short supply.

It amazes me that as I grow older my need to be doing “it” right (whatever “it” might be) diminishes exponentially.  When someone so little looks up and grins a toothy grin that makes you know you are doing it the way they need or want, it becomes the standard of measure.  It doesn’t matter whether you are acting like a fool, or that you are willing to copy any sounds that they utter  or crawl around on the floor, it all meets with approval.  It doesn’t matter that everything else that used to be important, is put on hold because my FHB and I finally get it….time has accelerated, our kids are adults and these little folks (both our east and west coast girls) are willing and available for loving and experiencing  life in this moment with us.  Children have no sense of time as that is a concept that it thrust upon them.  So every moment is freestanding.  The relationship is the connection between moments.

The caretaking is somewhat more daunting, and I am not that sure whether it is because I am older or whether I am more worried about messing up “someone else’s” child.  Having the trust of my child to watch his child is a tall order.  What I did when I parented many moons ago is less relevant to being consistent in caring the way I am asked to do.  It is learning respect for someone else’s system and honoring them for being excellent caretakers, which in the circle of life might just be a reflection of how they were raised.  It is actually such an eye opening experience to know that your child is truly a person who can manage to work, and caretake and be a partner and it all works well.  They already know more about letting certain things go and emphasizing the critical tasks of being available and present for their children than I knew.  It is kind of impressive.  There is also the sense that they are truly grateful for our help and participation in their daughter’s life and that it is not taken for granted and assumed.  All of a sudden the good manners and acknowledgement that seemed to pass me by during their adolescence, comes back a hundred fold.  I like these people. They are kind to us and kind to others.

I had a hard time sitting still when I had a baby.  I thought that everything was equal in terms of cleaning, laundry, and childcare.  I did little caretaking of myself and questioned  how I was doing as a parent.  I was a hard critic and concerned that I was juggling all I needed to, the job, the house, and the children and not doing it terribly well.  I like the current babysitting gig and know that somehow it has all synthesized itself into a pretty lovely system of checks and balances.  I guess the investment of time plus or minus the lack of or increase in life experience, all adds up to a lot of return and drooling kisses.  And you can take that to the bank.

 

 

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Peace of Heart

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Complexity.  A metaphor for love.  A vital part of our functioning that can be strong and at a moment’s notice, can break, or get damaged.  And yet, our heart, collective or individual, can grow in ways we never considered, expanding to include the best of the most miraculous events, and at other times, can contract when things become too much, too difficult.

This particular calendar year has been filled with  my own  growth as well as  the expansion of my heart.  I am also surrounded by so many people who have had the same experience, finding that falling in love can happen over and over, and over again.  Hearts melt and swell with the joy of new family members in the guise of babies!  Some of us have become grandparents again, or for the first time, and others have become parents, aunts, uncles and whatever name your relationship with someone new takes on.  It redefines our place in the universe, as we are reminded that we are on a path which recognizes we are forever changing, and the change is happening around us, and sometimes to us, but that we are impacted in some way we might not have expected.

I am always surprised at how much I can love, and how my capacity grows.  My oldest granddaughter, at 3, can show me that she can be compassionate, funny, serious and joyful, all in a matter of moments. She invites my FHB and me into her world and to watch her figure out what she wants, and how she can discover something new. engages us, time after time. It never, ever, gets old.  We fall in love every time we see her, or see her picture.   The best part is when she speaks to us and it’s just us, listening and having a conversation.  Three year olds are incredibly smart and teach us so much.  My newest granddaughter, at almost eight months can smile and connect and communicate with her eyes and her vocalizations and we just enjoy holding and hugging and kissing this lovely girl. We are kept in the moment, which is a child’s mission.  It is about them, and now, and the world goes away and our attention is riveted.

There is awe in watching the generation we have created take on the world, creating their next generation, as well as figuring out how to recognize the needs of others and take care of business. We hope that they can  rebuild the broken hearts and broken systems for the people who live among us and those who have been born this year in our world.   We too, have faced a lot of unexpected pain and damage, imagining the world a certain way, only to find out, it is not the way we thought it was, or was going to be.  When things don’t work out, we have to reach out and try again, until it is better, and better for us and for everyone.  We have to put our heart in it, and take heart and heal that which is broken.

As the year closes, many are grateful to put it behind them, as it may be a ledger sheet that has more minuses than pluses.  It’s all how you spin it.  It was “the best of times,it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”.  It was all of it,  and yet, if you add up what you decided to take on, and minus those things you let go of, for good or for bad, you may discover that you may have broken even.  For those who were not around to see this year, or those who left us this year, we must acknowledge that new life and every life is precious and important.  We take a chance, with every beat of our heart, to live the best life we can.  It seems like it was just a year ago, and here we are again.  I need very little, but want very much, not for me but for those who have a piece of my heart.