We have just spent six days taking care of our almost 9 month old grandson, Ryker, while his parents and older brother were in NJ celebrating a wedding. We were excited to have the opportunity to spend some one on one time with the little guy and get to know one another. But we were also apprehensive. It had been 8 years since our first grandchild was this age and we remembered how challenging it can be to be caring for an infant 24/7. We were older now, having faced open heart, cardiac stents, a shoulder repair and two hip replacements. I was still mending from the second hip replacement and Thad was getting ready to repair his second shoulder and in some discomfort. Could we do this?
We weren’t sure, but we went into intense training several weeks prior to his visit. We ate healthy foods; we exercised daily, and got plenty of rest. We baby proofed the house, learned how to buckle a baby into the car seat, how to fold and unfold the stroller and how to make homemade baby food all over again. While it may seem easy to parents, baby equipment has changed a whole lot since we were in their place. Whew!
Here is just a sampling of what these six days gifted us:
- We learned that despite our age, we could still learn new things. I will admit it took a team effort to accomplish what my daughter manages to accomplish by herself during any given day. And she is able to maintain a running dialogue with our 8 year old grandson! Yeah, we can’t multi-task like that anymore.
- We can still keep up with a crawling, sort-of-walking infant and even wear him out to the point that he wanted to get into his crib and sleep without so much as wimper! Of Course, we crawled into bed not longer after he did with maybe a few groans and moans (our bodies don’t squat and get up and down from the floor as well as they used to).
- We were grateful to our daughter and son-in-love that they trusted us enough to leave Ryker in our care to enjoy and love.
- We were reminded how much fun and laughter a baby brings to our world. One day after his lunch, we put him in our kitchen sink and let him play with the trickling water from the faucet along with measuring spoons and plastic bowls. He jabber jawed about what he was doing and we laughed and marveled at how you could see this new, little mind working to discover and learn. He was enthralled and fascinated and so were we. So much so we pulled up two kitchen chairs by the sink, and just watched him. To a voyeur looking in, it may have looked two crazy old people but if you’re a grandparent this looks perfectly normal.
- It is not lost on us that there may come a time when we will be unable to put forth the herculean effort it takes to care for our grandchildren but we appreciate that at least for right now, God has blessed us with a desire and strength to do so.
At the end of the six days we were tired and I needed a chiropractic adjustment to my neck and back. But we also felt empowered and encouraged that we were able to do it.
After all, Ryker survived and even thrived at Nana & Opa’s and we weren’t dead.
Life doesn’t get any better than this.