Friday, November 9, 2012

Grandparent Love

Grandmom, Daniel, Nalu, Pop-pop and Heidi

Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on many people’s lives. I feel very lucky that the storm passed over us, leaving our heat and electricity intact, our trees in the ground. Still, it wasn’t the best week, between the stress of the storm and being cooped up at home. By Wednesday I was thrilled to go to work, to return to normal life. But then my thirty minute commute took ninety minutes, and everywhere I went people seemed cranky, depleted, hurried. All of this was manageable. Then I came home to Unhappy Daniel.

Daniel even has a G-G-mom to love him
Although the first five months of his life were extremely challenging, since then, my child has shown a happy disposition. Unless he’s tired, hungry, or in pain he rarely cries. I love this about him. But teething + diaper rash = extreme crankiness. For example, when I would try to pick him up to change his diaper last week, he would go completely slack, then kick and scream. Once I saw his raw bottom, I understood why, but his antics didn’t make things any easier. Then he would ask for a bottle, I would get one, then he would cry, point at it, saying, “Ba-ba, ba-ba.” I’d say, “Here it is,” and try to hand it to him, but he would just keep asking for it, refuse to take it, and keep crying. I called the doctor, administered some Tylenol, and though we had a few windows of calm, my nerves were shot by Thursday night.

I worked Friday, thank God, but Saturday Daniel and I were on our own again. I arranged for a babysitter for the morning so I could write and have a little down time. That helped a lot. But still, by 4 PM, I had exhausted all my internal resources. I had to call in the big guns, the grandparents.

Things improved as soon as Grandmom and Pop-Pop showed up. Their absolute delight in Daniel lifted everybody’s mood. My whining, crying, inconsolable child morphed into a content, even pleasant soul under their loving attention. We ventured out to dinner, and through a 20 minute wait for a table, and a 90 minute meal, he was delightful, waving to the waitresses, flirting with other patrons, quietly eating. It was a quasi-miraculous change.

Man, does he love Pop-pop
With Daniel, a change of scenery generally helps, as does seeing people other than just Carl and me. But I saw on Saturday that there’s something extra special about grandparent love. Nothing I had done in the previous two days had pleased or calmed him, but their very presence did both within minutes.

Watching how he bloomed under their care reminded me of how I felt with my own Grandmom. Even as an adult, just being with her made me feel cherished, safe, calm. I remember having breakfast with her one morning when I had an important project due for law school. I was full of angst and worry, but her complete confidence in my abilities fortified me, helped me believe in myself again.

I know my parents have always loved me, but with my Grandmom, that’s all there was – no angst, no battles about discipline or anything else. Maybe that’s what makes the grandparent relationship so special. It can be pure love. It’s like a beloved friend v. a roommate. With the friend, you see what’s lovely and charming, without having to fight about the dishes in the sink. I think a grandparent’s love can be the closest thing to unconditional that many of us feel. Seeing Daniel experience this is one of the best gifts I’ve received from parenthood.


Carl Brighton said...

Grandparents are always the best people to call in taking care of our children, when we are not around. =) Being able to watch out for their grandchildren is what makes them happy the most. They provide the best care anyone could ever give, and in return, I’m sure your kids will be taking care of them when they grow up.

Carl Brighton

Julie Owsik Ackerman said...

Carl, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I agree that grandparents give the best care. I'm so glad that Daniel has all four of his grandparents in his life. They are a blessing to all of us.