Grandparenting. We are grandparents who are parenting our
grandchildren. I love my little Aaron as much as any mother loves her child, but holy crapolla, there are days when I say what the hell is so grand about all of this?! Days when this 3-year-old Beastie is demanding to get his own way and shouts for me to "go away" when I stop him from having whatever it is that is oh so important at the moment. When he is demanding I get or do something for him and adds a very rude "right now!" at the end of his less than gentle request. I find myself getting impatient and grumpy and far less jovial than the ideal grandmother figure.
Sometimes I feel so darn tired and mean and selfish and frustrated and angry and hopeless; all stirred up into a miserable, detestable stew. Some days when my husband gets home from work I'll give him a cursory hug and kiss hello before promptly making my escape to take a nap. That nap may or may not actually take place. If I don't fall into an immediate exhausted sleep, I'll lay there staring at the ceiling wondering where I went wrong to bring all of this about or I'll cry for all we have lost in this journey. Sometimes the inventory of losses are for my husband and myself, other times it is for all that Aaron has lost (though, he is too young to know it yet).
I know I need a break when I discover myself crying over grape juice stains on my favorite jeans. I get filled with anger and resentment because I spent so much time and effort on returning to college late in life and instead of using my new degree I am negotiating a two book maximum at bedtime, or standing guard over time-outs to enforce the time. I live in either stained sweats or pajamas and rarely apply makeup, heck, I'm lucky if I can get the time to take a shower! I don't feel pretty or professional or appreciated and I want to scream at the injustice of it all! I raised my children! I did my job! I was a damn good mom and I took care of my kids! I worried at the Doctors office, I chased them around the playgrounds, I helped with homework, went to every school conference or event, I attended every sporting practice and game! I paid my dues! Why should I have to go through all of this again?! Because...Life without this little boy who has the ability to bring me to my breaking point would be far more wretched without him than the bad days could ever be.
When at the end of a day I recognize that I wasn't as engaged, patient or calm as I should be I feel ashamed and vow to do better (which lasts until the next time I feel overwhelmed). However, I'm learning to forgive myself faster with each occasion. I am acknowledging that I am human and I had the same bad days as a 20 something mother as I do as a 40 something grandmother, and that's ok. I'm not perfect and I will make mistakes, I will lose patience, I will allow frustration and anger to bubble over, and I will always regret when I do. It doesn't make me a bad mother or grandmother, it means I am normal and reacting reasonably to my environment and emotions. I'm learning that it is alright and even healthy to have bad days, that it shows Aaron that emotions (good or bad) are normal and a part of life at any age. It shows him that it's ok to say "I'm angry right now" or "I'm sad" and to work these feelings out in a productive manner.
Fortunately, not all days are bad, in fact, very few are. The times in between are what get me through the rough spots. Days like today when the wind blew my hair in my face and Aaron was insistent that he had to place his little hands on either side of my face to smooth my hair back for me. When hours of playtime are unmarred by tantrums and whining. The giggles and tickles that last all morning and afternoon making everything better than perfect for a day. When he climbs into my lap for a hug and proclaims "G-ma, I love you all the days" and I tell him, "I love you all the days, too, Baby". Those are the moments that calm the chaos in my heart and head and put everything back into perspective. Good day or bad, I love him all the days.
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