Five Things I Didn’t Expect as a Grandparent

My grandson's arrival has changed my life in surprising ways.

I assumed I knew what it would be like to be a grandparent. It would be a breeze, I’d hug and cuddle them and resume my life as it was before. Then my grandson arrived and nothing has been the same. These are five of the things that have surprised me.

1. Worry

I tend to be a worrier, but it never entered my mind that having a grandchild would bring about a new batch of worries. When my children were babies I used every nap as an opportunity to accomplish some work, but with my grandchild a baby monitor is not good enough. When he takes a nap at my house, I sit right next to him and read a book, stopping at the end of each page to watch for signs he’s still breathing. Even though I know that at almost five months, he has great head control, I find myself still wanting to support his neck. When he’s in the car, I check and recheck his car seat and I drive slowly and cautiously, the stereotypical old lady driving. All I need is a “baby on board” sign on my car.  And then there are all the potential dangers in my home, there’s no end to my concerns for his well-being. The saying about having a child means living with your heart outside your body must extend to grandchildren.

2. Shopping

I hate shopping! I would almost rather sit in the dentist chair and have a root canal than spend a day at the mall. However, since Callister was born I have felt a strong magnetic pull to Baby Gap. I have been to the dreaded mall more times in the last four months than in the last twenty years. Last week I discovered Utica Square not only has a Baby Gap but also a Pottery Barn Kids- no more mall!  My fingers have also found their way too many times to order cute baby clothes from the comfort of my couch. How did we ever survive before online shopping? I admit I’ve become a little carried away, but I won’t take all the blame. Why do the designers have to make baby clothes so irresistibly adorable?!

3. Exhaustion

My favorite days are the ones that I take care of Callister while his parents work. My shifts are short- no more than six hours at a time, yet by the time he goes home I am torn between missing him the minute the door shuts and falling in a useless heap of exhaustion on the couch. I don’t remember feeling quite this tired when I had my kids. It couldn’t have anything to do with getting old, could it?

4. Gender

I had sisters and daughters. It’s what I knew, so I was hoping for a granddaughter. I had already envisioned the darling nursery, the bows, the dresses- saccharine sweet overdoses of pinks and lavenders. When I was informed it was going to be a boy, I had a few moments of disappointment. I know, I’m a terrible person, but I am also an honest one. As soon as he was born, those feelings dissipated as quickly as a popsicle in July. Now I can’t imagine a grandchild I could have loved any more than my grandson. Which brings us to number five.

5. Love

I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs and it is ridiculously corny and cliché but also so true it bears repeating. The love is indescribable! As my husband said, “I knew I would love him but I never expected to be so completely smitten”. He’s right; it’s such a pure, uncomplicated, delicious love. My phone is full of grandson pictures and pity the fool that asks to see a picture of my grandbaby. I’ve restrained myself from putting an “Ask Me About My Grandchildren” bumper sticker on my car but go ahead- ask me. I’ve become an insufferable bore when it comes to extolling the virtues of my incredible grandbaby.

I’ve only just begun this exciting episode in my life. Like everything else in life, there are unexpected events and emotions but all the worry, exhaustion and depletion of my bank account seem trivial in comparison to the joy my grandson has brought to our family. Grandparenting is truly the grand life!

Categories: Grand Life