Sunday, October 4, 2015

Two faces of granny-hood

 Spring is here, and I've been absent with a mix of winter flu and big busyness as I develop my business of distributing my books, speaking at conferences, and the new enterprise of 2015: teaching online courses. It's all very exciting, but has taken me away from the blog (and I've missed you, dear blog friends).
We have just passed spring equinox, which makes me aware of the balance of dark and light.
Today I'm musing on the two sides of being a grandmother.
1. Hands-off. Visit, adore and leave 
It's so seductive to stop there. After all, isn't that part of the deal of grandparent, part of the great privilege: that you can leave at any time? 
'Bye-Bye,' says the smallest one now, as she opens and closes her little fist.' 
And away I trundle, with a bursting heart. 
Back to my own life. 
But there's another aspect. 
2. Hands-on. Do the work 
Last night's sleepover began with the little one (7) throwing up within minutes of arriving. 'Take her home?' offered my daughter-in-law, who was exhausted from a day when the smallest one (14 months) didn't sleep at all. 
It's school holidays and more demanding than usual. Father is away in USA. It was a no-brainer; she stays. 
I gave her a clean-up bath & washed the sofa cushion, drying it with my hair-dryer, and dabbed the carpet. Then she vomitted over the sofa again. 
She threw up every hour until 3 a.m. I slept on the sofa next to hers, waking just in time on each occasion to hold the basin. 
Remembering what it's like to care for a sick child: staying present to 'Is this serious or something that will pass?' (Well, it was passing all right!) Listening with a carer's ear, even while asleep, to the early warning sound (a cough and a whimper in this case) that means 'Wake up!' 
Trusting the knowledge that has been built up over time.
There's no such thing as forgetting this learning, hard won in the small hours of many nights 40 years ago. This morning the little one ate a tiny bit of stewed apple and pear, and peacefully drew a big picture. 
Who's that old woman lying on the sofa? Oh, it's moi! Well at least I look happy. And I was. 
Happy to serve, and glad that it ended well. 
Then: adore and leave.
Happy equinox to you all, (belatedly). May you find joy in the hard things as well as in the things that come easily. Relationship bonds are forged as we wipe up the mess, rub the back, stay calm, and hold on for a new day to bring relief.

14 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - not having kids I can get the general understanding, and obviously have loved some littlies (still do - cept they are somewhat larger now!). One owas sick with me - she told me what to do .. age 5 or 6 I guess ... I did - she waited, she was sick, and that was it! I'm glad I didn't have yours ... but the youngster I presume slept through, having not done so the day before.

Good luck with all your ventures - they sound amazing .. there certainly is lots of opportunity out there - all the best and good to see you again and to 'hear' your calming words and read your thoughtful wisdom. Cheers Hilary

silkannthreades said...

This was a good reminder to me of both sides of the coin. I hope the bug by passes you. :)

growMama said...

Juliet, My friend Angela just linked to this post from the new 'It takes a Village' facebook page...my heart sang to see who it was from. SHe wrote 'i thought this was a really lovely post'. Me too! Much love to you. x

Juliet Batten said...

*Hilary, you clearly get the picture! Thank you, and nice to be in touch again
*Gallivanta. I seem to be OK so far. Thanks for dropping in.
*Anissa, oh how nice that it was sent on to you. I don't know about 'It takes a Village' but will check it out for sure. Thank you.

So nice to see you all again! I feel very welcomed back.

Penny O'Neill said...

Oh, those days of (and nights) of ill children. Poor dear. Yet, we make it through some of these awful nights and a days - and "hold on for a new day".
So nice to have you back, Juliet. You have certainly busy and filled with life.
We have fully entered Autumn here - and I welcome it.

Juliet Batten said...

Penny, you will know all about this. A new day is always welcome. It's good to be back, and thank you.

Hotly Spiced said...

Lovely to hear from you again, Juliet. Oh dear! What a night! You must have been exhausted. I do hope she is all better now. And I hope the sofa has recovered! Your daughter is blessed to have you close by and available to help and do sleepovers xx

Juliet Batten said...

Thanks Charlie. I've got it now. Just started. The sofa is fine & we love our sleepovers. Thanks so much.

Marja said...

"Hold on to a new day that will bring relief" Good one
Great to see you back as well. You have a rich life Are you doing Udemy courses online. I am following one there at the moment.
Rich especially with these little ones although they can be hard work. I know all about that. But it's all worth it. Hope you have a lovely week. :)

Juliet Batten said...

Hi Marja, nice to back in touch. I don't know about Udemy courses. Yes, little ones are hard work, but so worth it, as you say. Thank you.

Vicki Lane said...

Always two side to a coin -- you are obviously a splendid grandmother.

And I'm glad you're back!

Juliet Batten said...

Yes, two sides indeed Vicki. It's a privilege to be a grandmother. Thanks for the welcome back.

Nadezda said...

Juliet, I'm sorry that this poor child was so sick and I think she is better now. We all remember the nights when we sat near ill children and tried to lighten
their sufferings.
It's spring now in your place, congrats! Days are getting longer and warmer. Some vernal flowers are growing, enjoy this season, dear!

Juliet Batten said...

Thank you Nadezda, she is better now, and spring brings more joy every day.