Thursday, March 2, 2023

What Are Grandparents For?

 Last night before I went to sleep I decided that if all went well today I was going to take Levon to see May at the restaurant where she works for a little visit, some hugs, and pizza. 
All went well and I got to see my beautiful May. And hug her and hug her. And also eat pizza! Pepperoni and pineapple because that is Levon's favorite. Oh, wait- with cheese. 
It was like a dream. 
When the grands were younger, Lily and Jessie and I and whatever kids were available, used to do this fairly often- go eat lunch with May but after awhile, it became apparent that this was very stressful for our darling because she was trying to visit and provide the good service that she does AND keep up with all that needs to be done when you're a manager and server. So we sort of backed off of that but I so rarely get to see May because she does work so many hours and on her days off, she is so much like me and mainly wants to stay at home and be quiet and get the things done that need doing. 
Even today I felt guilty, knowing that she had things she needed to do so badly but taking the time to talk to Levon and me. But I'm still glad I went. I was suffering for lack of her. Mama needed to get her arms around her baby.

Levon had a decent time too although he refused to let me take his picture unless his tongue was sticking out. Mr. Sassy Man. 

May asked him if she could put her arm around him and he said no, so she sort of put her arm around him and that turned out like this. 

As I told Mr. Moon a few minutes ago, the boys are the boss of me and in fact, all of the grandchildren are the boss of me and it is true. 

When I picked up August at after-school care, he came running out, his pink back-pack strapped to his back, wearing his rainbow socks and a pair of purplish pants which he informed me he'd put on backwards and he figured that out because the pockets were in the back. That kid is operating on a different plane than many of us are and that's the truth. It delights me. He gave me a huge hug and then asked what his treat was. 
Lucky for him I had his box of animal crackers right there in the car waiting for him. Levon had already eaten his. When we got back to the house, August wanted some milk to go with his gorillas and giraffes and kangaroos but there was none in the refrigerator. 
"I know we have some," he said, and then he led me to the hall and opened the door to a cabinet where Jessie keeps some foods and indeed, there were some cartons of oat milk. I reached up to get one and August said, "You're so old that you can barely reach it."
I said, "August, being old doesn't make you short. Well, okay, it can make you a little shorter but look at Boppy- he's the same age I am but he's still one of the tallest men I've ever met."
He agreed this was true. So did Levon.
A little while later I referred to Mr. Moon and me as old fuddy-duddies. 
Do you know what a fuddy-duddy is?" I asked him. 
"Yes. Like you." 
Things like this do not annoy me in the least. I love seeing myself through the incredibly honest lens of my grandchildren and I do very much realize that one of my roles in their lives is going to be part of their process of learning about aging and death. And kids think about these things. It is one of our main human tasks to try and come to peace with the idea that everyone will die. It is a first step in learning about our own mortality and it is reassuring to the children to think (and know) that I am old and still alive and will be older still when I die. That they have years and years (an eternity!) before them to live their lives as fully as I have.
But of course, this is not something to dwell on, and it's not something we even need to discuss unless they bring it up, and their thoughts on aging do amuse me and if I need to set them straight about certain things I will, gently, and with as much humor as I can manage. Why not? I'm still learning every day what aging truly means and if I can help my grandchildren understand it in a way that may serve them much later on in their lives, I am so happy to do it. 

Once again, I surely did not set out here to talk about aging but often, it is only through writing that I realize what I am really thinking about. And it is not specifically death this evening, but how organic it is for children to have old people in their lives who are still capable of laughing with them, doing things with them and for them, of delighting and being delighted by them, of finding joy in them. 

Or something like that. 

This picture came up in my FB memories today and I swear- I forget so much these days but I will never not remember this moment. 

Magnolia squishing August with her love when they were both barely old enough to walk. 
My heart, my heart. 
I am so grateful I've lived long enough to be a grandmother.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. beautiful post! YOU are the Grandmother everyone should be fortunate enough to have.
    Susan M

  2. I wish more people realised how important we oldies are. You are so right about our lives teaching children about ageing and death. I guess we owe it to them to show them that getting old doesn't have to mean becoming infirm. Something for me to think about. Thank you, darling Mary.

  3. How amazing that all the short hairs on Maggie's head grew into such lovely curls!

  4. I think people are surprised at how physically competent older people can be. There are alk sorts of assumptions, often kind ones. Like the checkout lady recently at the supermarket worrying that I wouldn't be able to carry my groceries all in one bag, because "there's FIVE POUNDS of flour in there!" She was sweet, but if I'd needed two bags I guess I'd have brought them.
    Young adults don't like to think I'm aware I might not have much time ahead of me. But if the subject comes up, I say so. And kids sometimes think really old people are a different species entirely!

  5. 37 paddington:
    I’m taking copious notes on grand parenting from your wise observations and experiences. What a glorious love this is. And I also know what it is to ache to put your arms around your child that is so busy doing her life it’s hard to find time to just be. Life in all its stages. I’ve been missing my girl too. She’s in a new stage too.

  6. I recognised August and Maggie right away. Levon is a cheeky little soul, poking his tongue out. May sounds like she is doing what she loves and loving what she does, then hiding out at home for the next rush.

  7. Being a grandma just about makes up for getting old.

  8. Pretty May, such a sprite! The photo of the arm around is hilarious. Being old amuses the youngin's especially when I sound like, well, an old person. "Oh God, Mom , you're so old" , "Yes I am, and if you are lucky , one day you will be too." I love being this age actually- it is more fun that I thought it would be.

  9. I went to see The Lion King - the musical - in Geneva last night, and I've had "Circle of Life" playing through my mind all day! It truly is a circle of life, isn't it!

  10. August "operating on a different plane" IS a wonderful thing. It delights me too. I love people who are individuals and not afraid to show it.

    Glad you got to see May and spend time with the boys. It's cute how they speak to you so frankly about aging, not that they really know anything about it at this point. :)

  11. I am certain that part of what kept me coming back to BoH back in the day when you were a brand new gma is that it felt like stopping in to see my gma. Still does and so much more (!!!). And I now know I see my future gma self (if I get that lucky) in you. It's an awesome full circle sort of thing.

  12. Beautiful May, she looks so much like you! I don’t have any grandchildren of my own and I so enjoy watching yours grow into their , independent and unique selves. Not only is it beautiful, but it gives me hope for the future. Much love.

  13. Your grandkids are lucky that you get to spend so much time with them. You are creating such wonderful memories for them (and you)!

  14. I had a massage last week and I decided that instead of aging, I am olding. I want a tshirt made up that says, Be patient with me, I'm olding.

    Jack is the same, interested about age and death as well. My first introduction to old people was as a student nurse, quite shocking really. I never knew my grandparents sadly.

    Your grandkids are so lucky to have you and Mr. Moon, to love on them.

  15. Grandparents are special , I still miss mine very much

  16. I loved having mine live next door when they were little. and when we started moving out here, I think we moved too soon. I didn't realize how much they needed us next door. Autumn just about broke my heart when she called one day asking when we were coming back. I told her we didn't have any work right now so there was no reason for us to come back to the city. she said very


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.