Today our eldest grandson turns 4.
We had just sat down to watch a performance of Measure for Measure at a professional theater about 20 minutes from our house. I was checking my phone one last time before silencing it, and saw I’d missed a call from our son Jacob. He was living in Israel; 8 pm our time was about 11 am the next day for him. I quickly listened to the message as the lights went out and whispered the news to my husband. I soon realized I couldn’t concentrate on a single Shakespearian line. We made it to intermission and left, eager to hear the details and share the news with family and friends.
We were on a plane within two days to meet this little boy who changed our status from parents to grandparents. The family moved to New Jersey about six months later, to a town about 40 minutes drive away.
Grandparenthood is great fun. There’s a lot of playing: on the floor with blocks, trains, trucks and cars; at the easel with crayons and markers, at the kitchen table with a mixing bowl, stirring pancake, muffin, or cookie batter. There’s walks to the park, hikes in the woods, trips to the zoo, yoga on the lawn, and lots of stories- read from old favorites and new authors, and imaginative story telling that my son and husband excel at. There are excuses to shop for cute outfits or necessities like snow jackets, hats and mittens, and people to knit for. There’s being invited to Grandparents Day. There are reasons to make silly faces and sing silly songs and act a bit like a child.
And much more. There’s having the chance to witness firsthand once again how language develops; how funny so much seems to small children and how they express their feelings. There are so many “firsts”: crawling, walking, foods, words, writing his name, getting dressed helping with chores. There’s observing how fine and gross motor skills evolve. There’s the searching in a child’s face to determine “who he or she looks like” and the extraordinary privilege of seeing your children be parents. There’s remembering my own grandparents and how the cycle of life continues.
There’s worry too. About the kind of world they’ll face when they grow-up. About global warming, and gun control, and health.
There’s wonder about where their lives will take them and hoping I’ll be around a long time to watch.