Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two Gifts for Mema and Grandpa

Did you all have the Christmas you were hoping for? Ours was nice - so good to see my oldest son and his family. They live in Denver, and its hard to have them at such a distance. I always imagine what fun we'd have if we lived closer to them. I love those little kids so much, and when I see them after so many months I want to snatch them up, and just hold them. But they don't really know me very well, so I have to go a little slowly at first.

Lexi was a delight. She is 3 1/2 going on 8. She has a vocabulary that is amazing for one so young, and she is very VERY smart. Her new word this visit is "marvelous." We have a tradition of letting the little ones open one gift on Christmas Eve. It eases the pain and suffering of the long, long wait for Santa's visit. This year, that gift for Lexi was a mermaid doll with long blue
hair. She had been wanting some bath toys that weren't baby toys, so this was perfect. Grandpa helped her untie the ribbon, and when she saw the doll she gasped, got big eyes, and whispered "It's a mahvelous muhmaid!" ((She can't say her "R's") That just tickled me, as the gift was almost an afterthought.
Lexi isn't much for cuddling or sitting quietly, so if you want to get to know her, you must engage her in a game or activity. While it was still light out, I chased her around the front lawn. I was the monster, and she squealed every time I'd grab her. She loves to be chased. Then she spent about 30 minutes splashing water from the fountain onto our duck statue on the porch "washing it." Another 15 minutes with a paper towel "drying it." We came inside and played two rounds of a memory game that I'd bought to play with her. Great fun! Finally it was time for dinner, which she wanted no part of. We were going to see a neighborhood close by that has phenominal Christmas lights, so I encouraged her to eat so she'd have energy to run and jump when we got to the lights. Miraculously, it made sense to her, so she ate.
I was flattered to hear her say that she wanted to ride to the lights with Mema. (Wow - she likes me!) She chattered about anything and everything on the way over, but once there she wanted nothing to do with holding my hand. Lexi loves to run free.

Matthew, on the other hand, didn't want much to do with me at all. He is 1 1/2, and he loves Mommy and Daddy. And he liked Grandpa carrying him around. He is cute and happy, with an infectious laugh. And the bluest eyes I've ever seen. My family doesn't have a lot of blue eyes, so his are a treat to look at.
We had a fun evening, but when it was over, Grandpa and I looked at each other, limped upstairs and popped Excedrin and Advil. Our dogs were barking, and our sticks were aching. I think I've mentioned before that we need to practice being on our feet more - *train* for these events, as it were. You forget how much energy you need to keep up with these little ones.
Christmas Day is kind of a blur. I know my parents came over, and it was calm for awhile. Once the grandkiddies and everyone arrived (late in the day - around 5pm) everything started to move quickly. All of that shopping and wrapping: GONE in a wild frenzy of paper and ribbon torn to bits. I keep thinking that one of these years I'll figure out that perfect balance between the boredom of watching people open gifts one... by one... by one... and the craziness of having everyone have at it all at once. It's pandemonium, and so much is missed.
And then every year, like clockwork, comes that melancholy that inevitably accompanies a visit by one of the grown kids. (Am I the only one who tortures myself this way??) I always doubt myself: I'm not "fun" like moms/grandmas in other families, we're a bit "boring," as a couple (we do like our private time, and our quiet lifestyle), I'm not a grandma who lives to babysit (although I'm losing my fear slowly as the kids get a bit older) - our house is very small, no yard to play in, and its hard for me to be on my feet running around and picking kids up. Quite honestly, it makes me very achey after not too long. It's a limitation that makes me sad, and also makes me feel very guilty and inferior. I feel that I should want to have the kids come stay for a few days, but I know that I can't handle it - at least not while they're this little. But I'm afraid that if I don't do it now, they won't want to come later when they're older. Is this bad reasoning? I don't know.
My husband is very wifey-savvy - he is the perfect partner for me. He knows just what I need at all times. He is not kid-savvy. I have to encourage him to engage with the grandkiddies. It doesn't come completely naturally, but he tries, and I say practice makes perfect. We are a blended family, and so sometimes I think he feels awkward, and like an outsider. He is very good news for me, but my children kind of struggle with this quiet man who is so reserved. (In contrast, their dad is always the life of the party. ) And he, in turn, kind of struggles with them and their gregarious personalities (as I've struggled with his boys' quiet, extremely reserved personalities, in the past interpreting it as dislike. I have learned it is not, however.) One day, I keep thinking. One day we will all feel like a family. But for now it's a bit of a struggle, where I am the one frantically going between the two sides trying to make everyone happy. It's exhausting. I wonder if other blended families feel the same way, or is this some neurosis peculiar to only me?
I think sometimes that the adults will always be this way, but my hope is for the little ones. They have never known grandparents to be anyone other than who they are. They accept, and they reach for Grandpa and Mema, trusting that we will love them. And we do. Oh yes... we do. And they were the best Christmas gift of all.

PS: This was all written on my wonderful Christmas gift from L - a new i-Mac! I'm having such fun learning how to navigate on it! So many tricks and fancy things it can do!


  1. Congrats on your new i-mac! I always love getting a new computer and putting it through its paces, so to speak.

    Sounds like your Christmas was wonderful, and all of your feelings about being a grandparent make sense to me. As fun as it is, it can also be very wearying, and I am often glad that I'm not expected to handle the "full dose" of parenting kids at this stage of my life. The Lord knew what he was doing when he put a limit to these things. My nerves are just not what they used to be...nor is my energy level.

    Having said that, as you know, there is nothing better than having grandchildren visit! I will be enjoying mine for two more days. =)

    As for blended families, my mom remarried about the time that I married my husband. The man she married is a great guy, but very quiet. It took a while for all of us to really come to know him, but nearly 40 years later, we love him like no other.


  2. Love that picture of Matthew, did you retouch it? Wish we could have been there to join in on all the fun!


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