Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Being A Grandmother
I got to play with my Owen for awhile today and while I was at his house Kathleen came by and also, Mr. Moon, aka, Bop. We had so much fun. Owen and I did a bit of baby-yoga. I tried to show him how to do plow and I said, "Get on your back," and he did, and then I said, "Raise up your legs," and he did and I don't know. It sort of broke my heart that he's already so smart. There we were, an old woman and a little boy of fifteen months, lying on our backs on the carpet, raising up our legs in the air and bending them back and then he got up and pushed my back so that I would sit up again.
We played "put Doug to sleep," which involved laying his big boy doll down on the floor and laying his blanket on him and letting him fall asleep. "Ssshh," I said. "He is trying to sleep now."
Owen was fascinated by this. He took the blanket and tried to lay it down flat all over the living room. How had I done that? He was persistent in his attempts to do it too.
When Kathleen came by, she brought a container of grape tomatoes from Costco and offered one to Owen. Before it was over, I feel certain that the boy ate at least twenty of them. "Mo," he kept saying and whether that meant tomato or more, the result was the same. We watched him try to spread out the blanket and we chatted and we gave out tomatoes and it was just so nice, having Kathleen there and Owen kissed her more than once. He was in a kissing mood today. He kisses by thrusting his head up to yours with an open mouth and letting you make the smack noise. It is, to me, heavenly of course.
When Bop showed up, Owen was supremely happy. Bop immediately settled in on the floor and began to make things with blocks. I thought how typical this is- Grandmother plays put the baby to sleep with the grandchild and Grandfather builds things for the child to knock over. Owen seemed to be quite interested in both activities.
I asked Owen if he would like me to change his diaper and he said, "Uh-huh." I had a diaper in my hands and said, "I'll change you right here," indicating the carpet but he pulled the diaper from me and headed to his room where the changing table is. He knows the right way to do things. He also showed me how to make the music play on one of his stuffed animals. I pushed this and pulled that and he took it from me and pulled the correct thing and sure enough, a lullaby was produced.
He will be showing me how to program the DVD player next week, I am thinking.
Ah. That boy.
He understands EVERYTHING we say and he says some words but he gets everything he needs to get across with motions and sign language and tone of voice as he makes his noises. I love it when I ask him where something is and he puts his arms down, crooks the elbows and puts his hands palms up and makes a sound which perfectly says, "I don't know."
Then, when he finds it, he says a fair replication of "Here it is!"
All of this amazes me. I know that I must have watched each and every one of my own four children go through these stages. In fact, I remember quite clearly Hank on my lap, fingering one of the buttons on my sweater and saying, "Button."
I remember the time May was desperately trying to tell me that the cat had snatched the fish I was going to cook off the counter by pulling at me and saying, "Cat! Fish!"
I remember Lily picking up a baseball bat and saying, "Heaby, Daddy," as she tried to heft it and I remember Jessie doing her little projects, much as Owen does sometimes here, moving one set of things to a different place, one piece at a time and arranging them as she thought proper.
But there is something different in watching Owen. When I am with him, I am not trying to do one other thing but be with him. And so when he picks up a stick and does different things with it, I observe. I take note. When he learns to say "Uh-huh," I am charmed. When he kisses, when he hugs, that is the only thing going on in my universe and my heart melts. And I LOVE to make him laugh. I have found that doing odd things, things out of the ordinary, crack him up. He has a little Power Rangers doll figure and we spent quite a bit of time today, balancing him on a ball and also on our heads and he loves that sort of thing.
I feel as if I am teaching him to think out of the box, which is a phrase I fucking hate, but you know what I mean. I think that children are born with a sense of the absurd and I love to nurture it in Owen, to the point where I lay backward on the couch and act as if I am falling off and say, "Oh, Owen, Grandmother is falling!" in a silly voice and he looks at me and then laughs when I do fall and end up on my butt and then sit up and reach my arms out to him.
I am a fool for that boy. Quite literally. Perhaps this, too, is a part of growing older. I don't care to preserve any dignity around him at all. We burp, we laugh. We make faces, we laugh. We fall off the couch, we laugh. We put the Power Ranger on our heads, we laugh.
I am not his mother. I am his grandmother and if all he remembers about me is that I fell off the couch backwards and made him laugh and then hugged him, my job is done.
It is not that I am spoiling him. I am enjoying him. With every fiber of my being.
I had no idea that this is what being a grandparent would be like. No idea, in fact, that this sort of love existed.
Perhaps I am doing an unconscious series here on aging and the benefits of it. And perhaps tomorrow I will bitch and moan about pain or wrinkles or the way society treats the older people. Who knows?
But for right now, I am saying that being a grandparent is probably one of the most joyous things I've ever done and I can't tell you how much I love being such a part of this boy's life and watching the way he relates to me and his grandfather and becoming so aware of how important a grandparent can be.
I had no idea.
But I'm learning.
And as I've always said, my children are my greatest teachers and now, my grandson is another.
It just feels really, really right and once again, I am learning to trust my heart, trust the way of the universe, appreciate the way it all unfolds.
Thank-you, Owen. Thank-you, Lily and Jason.
Without you, this huge piece of information, this awareness of a different sort of love would not be part of my life and I would have died not knowing it even existed.
I love you...Mer-Mer.