We grandparents sometimes have a hard time accepting the sad fact that our grandchildren have to grow up. It’s inevitable. But it’s not easy for us. Sometimes when I walk along my street and see a stroller with an infant I am overcome with delight and ogle the baby. I smile lovingly at the adults, of course, and go about my business.
I miss the babies, the smell of powder, the rush to hug me. I worry that when they grow up, they will stop loving me as much.
Don’t worry, friends.
Two years ago, my oldest grandson, who was 13 at the time, left for camp a kid and came home an adolescent. He was taller than me, and there was a whisper of hair on his legs. Where was my little boy? We had seen each other one afternoon a week since he was a baby. I had one last year with him, and then it was time for him to go to high school. He promised to visit with me one afternoon a week, on his way home from school.
He meant to, but that didn’t happen.
A high school freshman, and he played basketball most afternoons and then rushed home to have dinner and finish his homework. I was sad. Did he miss our time together, did he even remember it?
Then, I found a piece of paper he had brought me several years ago, coming back from a family visit in New Orleans. They had encountered a table at which a poet with a typewriter sat. Give her a subject, and she would write a poem. It was called The Spontaneous Store.
Here’s the poem:
At that time, I didn’t know how much our afternoons meant to him. It took a street poet to tell me that our bond, created over years of weekday afternoons is deep and strong. I remind myself that I won’t lose him, and he won’t lose me.
Postscript: Now in the time of Covid, Now approaching his 16th birthday, isolated with his family, trying to finish his second year of high school and missing his friends, my grandson doesn’t want to talk or bother with me. I have to remind myself that he is still my little boy, even though his voice is deep and he the tallest in his family. I think of the poem.
Then on Mother’s Day, I got a card from him. His note ended, “You mean the world to me.”
I couldn’t believe it.
Then I did believe it.
The bond across the generations is profound and it is flexible. It will outlast that virus—and it will even outlast us. We are etched in their hearts.
So, we grandparents--separated, isolated, and even lonely--do not have cause for despair. Love is not disposable. It is eternal.
Interested in writing for our blog, The Reveler?
Email [email protected] with your idea.