What My Grandkids Won’t Believe

Ocean City NJ, lifeguard rowboadThe waves crest in and out, gray and blue, as the sun rises over the expanse of dawn-rose sand. In the NJ beach city I’m visiting, the sandy stretch is long and wide thanks to the humungous efforts of the state to save and preserve its beaches.

But of course that’s not what I’m concentrating on as I walk a mesmerizing pace past one empty lifeguard stand to another, each one symbolizing the length of two blocks.

I focus my attention, instead, on the being that’s following me, slowly, lazily, in the water as I stride on the beach in fierce wonder. Continue reading

I Can Handle That!

fireflies, grandparentingWe’d be happy to watch the kids for an hour tomorrow night,” I said to my son.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to jump after them like fireflies in a dark sky, placing them in a glass jar with the lid shut tight.

Instead, the offer to babysit flew away from me and into my son’s grateful hand.

“Thanks, Mom. We’ll drop them off at 6. We won’t be more than an hour. 7:30 okay?”

7:30? What happened to an easy hour with three little boys: 1½, 3, and 4½? Just enough time to give them a cookie, read them a book, and offer a bottle and a sippy cup before their mom and dad retrieved them.

“Oh no!” I said loudly on his way out the door. Continue reading

I Want My Nap!

http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/gustave-caillebotte/the-napA few weeks ago my man and I take two of our son’s three little boys for four hours of fun, fun, fun with PaPa and Pammy.

We drive the 45-mintues to pick them up, making plans along the way: walk in the park, an hour in the new playground near our house, a swim at the local pool, maybe we’d even have time to bake cookies!

After car seats are maneuvered into the back seat, the 3-year-old and 4-year-old grandsons are strapped in, and we make the noisy ride back to our place amidst:

When are we getting there?” “Where’s Henry the dog?” “Can we sit on Henry?” How does a dog get arthritis?”  “What IS arthritis?” “Can I have a drink?” “I’m hungry!” “How much longer?”

When we arrive, the 4-year-old plops himself on the lounge chair in our deck overlooking the Bay, puts his hand behind his head, and exclaims, “What a view! I’m going to sit here allll day.”

The 3-year-old has found the puzzles I store in the kids’ closet and throws the pieces of all three, together, across the living room floor.puzzle, nap, grandkids

“Man-to-man coverage,” my guy suggests. He takes the puzzle tot, I take the “unmovable boy” who now has found the bookcase in the hallway and asks, to my delight, “Read this one, Pammy!”

Six books later, the 4-year-old insists he wants to read all day.

Llama Llam time to share, grandkids, reading, books“Let’s go to the playground,” I suggest.

“No! I want Llama Llama Time to Share again!”

In the meantime, Henry the dog has a puzzle piece in his ear, and the man-to-man defense is weakening.

We squeeze in a 15-minute trip to the pool and a few bites of peanut butter and jelly, but it’s close to nap time, when we promised the munchkins’ parents we’d bring them home.

The 4-year-old begs, “can’t we stay and reeeeeaaaaaaaadddddddddd?”

The 3-year-old insists: “I want my mommy!”

So we hustle to the car and begin the ride back.

Five minutes into the drive a sound as loud as 20 chalk pieces screeching on a board emits from the back seat. My guy and I jump so high our heads hit the car roof.

“What’s the matter?” I ask, turning around to check on the distressed 3-year-old.

I WANT MY NAAAPPPPP!” he screams.

Huh. I thought parents begged children to nap, not the other way around.

The 4-year-old consoles his brother: “It’s okay, you can nap in the car.”

NOOO!” his younger brother retorts. “I need my MOMMY, then I can NAP!”

A tense ride ensues, with a strangled sound coming from the 3-year-old’s side every so often: “Naaaaaappppppp!!!”

In a record 39.5 minutes, we deliver our charming grandchildren to their relieved parents.

“You’re late!” our son exclaims.

As I unbuckle the blonde-haired, sweet-as a-snowball 3-year-old from his seat, he strokes my face lightly.

“Pammy?” he says softly.


“I love you.”

Ah, I’m a good grandmother, I sigh to myself, until the little one continues: “But I’m not coming to your house ever again.”

Defeated, I give him a light kiss with a chuckle and hand him off to his mother for a long afternoon’s nap.

On the way home, my guy drives over the speed limit. I gaze at him quizzically.

“I need my nap, NOW,” he exclaims.

Which only proves that little boys never truly grow up.

nap, grandchildren, grandparents

Hmmm, is it nap time?

More Love

When I think my heart is filled to the brim with love – for my man, my children, their spouses, my parents, my brother and his family, our friends – grandchildren arrive.

I wonder how more love happens. Somehow I don’t have to squeeze each one into an already full heart – they suddenly occupy a huge chunk of it with no one else kicked out.

opera in the alley, San Francsico, street opera, love

Street opera on a San Francisco alley.

Flash. My guy and I walk the city of San Francisco with our son and two of his boys, 3 and 1 ½. We watch the ice skaters in the middle of Union Square, eat vendor pretzels, pant up hills (with the boys sharing a stroller), listen to the opera singer standing in the alley, and then somehow end up in a men’s clothing store, one that my man has bought clothes from since our son was his sons’ age.

As we finger the cotton shirts and silk ties, the two shop owners, now in their 60s, exclaim, “three generations of one family!’ and I feel a burst of pride. I don’t why. I haven’t done anything.

The Hound, San Francisco, men's clothing store, family, love, grandchildrenThe 1-year-old runs around the store with his pudgy bow-legged stance, finding everything at one-foot-high level that is dangerous.

The 3-year-old just sits on the floor looking up at the four men talking about important topics, like football and the stock market.

Suddenly, out of the blue, he touches my guy’s leg. “PaPa,” he says. The men don’t hear him. My little grandson waits patiently.

“PaPa,” he says again, not any louder.

PaPa stops talking and looks down at his grandson.

“PaPa,” our little grandboy continues as if in the middle of his quiet bedroom. “I love you.”

The busy clothier store grows quiet…

…and see?

My heart bursts open wider, to let in even more love.

Getting PaPa's attention.

More love.