I have concluded that I am a far better at being a grandparent than a parent.
For some reason the loud noises no longer bother me, nor do the playdough crumbs that litter the dining room floor following a play date. Oh well, not a big deal.
“Can you read three books Nana?”
“Yes, I will read three books sweetie”?
“How about five books? Will you read five books Nana?”
“Sure! I will read as many books as you like – go grab them and let’s get comfy!”
Grandparents can do that. We can sit among the ruins of wooden toy train tracks with a tiny Hot Wheel car digging into our back and read books for an hour. A pair of reading glasses are tucked into my purse for exactly this purpose.
The conversations with the oldest grandchildren are hilarious. I carry their little stories home with me and tuck them into my brain for safekeeping (or for the speech at their wedding).
The joy on their face when they see me at the front door. The running up to me and giving me a big hug. The squeal, “Nana!” My heart melts and puddles at my feet.
I recall that same kind of love that I felt for my own grandparents. I have written before where, as a child, I would sit on the couch looking out the picture window impatiently waiting for my grandparents to arrive for Thanksgiving or Christmas. My sister and I would scream, “Grandma and Grandpa are here!” and we would run outside to help them bring in their bounty of baking. My grandmother’s long coat swinging around her legs, my face snuggled into the folds as I embraced her. The intoxicating scent of her snow white hair, the softness of her face, the love in her eyes as she hugged me back.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t a horrible parent, but I was a very young parent and didn’t seem to have the time nor patience to read an endless stack of books before bedtime. I thought that my house needed to be spotless and that toys all over the carpet ruined that aesthetic. Working full-time also served to limit the amount of time where I could simply snuggle and have deep conversations with my school-aged child.
I couldn’t imagine not having this special time in my role as grandparent. I have learned so much about the importance of time and how precious it has become.
I am thankful.
Judy Kucharuk lives and writes in Dawson Creek.