This Life...

On Being Nanny…

20130815_101452_resizedI’m just home from a wondrous visit with Son, DIL, and Grandboy, and although it’s nice to be back home and getting into my “normal” routine again, I already miss all of them!  Grandboy and I had a fun-filled two weeks of playing and reading and simply getting to know one another better. He is a delight, but wow, there is truly a reason that God gives toddlers to young people. Whew!! I definitely got my exercise! It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle though, and I was happy for my strong legs and healthy body.

The boy is busy and full of curiosity! Everything is an adventure. He discovered the wonders of the backyard while I was there—running in the grass and cavorting with Nanny and Lily, the dog. As I was sitting in the grass with him one day, it struck me how different his grandma experience is from mine. Fifty years ago, my grandmother was old—she wore a hairnet and stumpy shoes and house dresses that hiked up in the back. She was seriously arthritic (okay, I have it too, but it’s controlled with exercise and the occasional anti-inflammatory), and had hearing aids that squealed when she adjusted them. She read to us now and then, but she never once got down on the floor to build with blocks or run trucks along the sidewalk or romp in the grass with a ball.

I tried hard to remember what exactly my grandmother did do with us when we were little—hell, she had seven grandkids! Finally I recalled walking to the corner drugstore with her and getting a soda. I remembered making orange coconut cake with her for a church pitch-in dinner and helping her decorate their house for Christmas by sticking gumdrops on a plastic gumdrop tree. But here’s the killer, when I was Grandboy’s age, she was younger than me!

I want my grandson to have lots of memories of fun times with Nanny, even though we live far apart. I’m so grateful to be grandparenting in a time when sixty is the new forty and my age is just a number, and in an age of marvelous technology like digital cameras and Skype and webcams and smart phones.  And speaking of digital cameras and smart phones…yeah, he’s a cutie!

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  • robena grant

    My maternal gran was a great lady, an artist with a wonderfully creative mind. She was also a woman who lived and farmed her land alone. She didn’t actually play with us but she did provide interesting things to engage our young minds and I learned a lot from her.

  • Skye

    My paternal grandparents were pretty old when I was born, in their 70s I think (Dad was the youngest of 7, with an age range of at least 20 years). Maternal grandparents were about 40 (and I was the 4th grandchild!). But as much as I loved them — and I adored my maternal grandfather, who died when I was 5 — they didn’t get down on the floor and play with us. Grandpa did take me with him into the yard to pick berries and carrots, and he took me to the beach and we collected shells.

    Even Mom rarely sat on the floor after her mid-30s. And I still sit on the floor with kids and sit cross-legged. I’m glad that things are different for us and that we can be younger than our parents and grandparents were at our ages.

    Your Grandboy is darling (I love him in that box, like a cat) and he’s lucky to have a Nanny who will get on the floor or the grass and play with him.

    • Nan

      Thanks, Skye! So glad you stopped by to share your grandparent memories…shelling is so much fun!! What a cool memory to have of time with your grandpa.

  • Liz Flaherty

    Great post, Nan. I remember my grandma the same way. I was the last of six grandchildren, she was 62 when I was born, and–I think–over the whole thing. She was nice to me, but liked me better from afar. My other grandmother was even older and not so nice. I think we drew the lucky straw on “how things are.”

    • Nan

      Thanks, Liz! My other grandmother was rather distant and my memories of her all mixed up with the uncle that my mom warned me to stay away from (he lived with her), so yeah…we’re definitely in a better time and place to be grandmas!