God help me, I’m a grandma

goils-009So your eldest son tells you he’s met a woman, and you say, “Marvelous!” because save for maybe one of them, you’ve liked the young women he’s brought home, and he says, “She’s older, Ma,” and you say, joking, “What? 60? 70?” No. Just five years, and you say, “Marvelous!” and then he says “She’s a widow, Ma,” and you say, “That must have been so hard, to lose someone so dear,” and he says, really fast, “Andshehasfivekids,” and you say nothing because surely you misheard him. Right? Right?

But no. You heard right, so at first you change the subject when he brings it up, and then, when he keeps bringing it up, you start your campaign to convince him that, at 24, he’s not ready for five kids, that he’s still learning the basic care and upkeep of himself, but he stands firm so you revert to changing the subject because surely this will blow over, right? He and his girlfriend — for she is most assuredly that now — break up once and you try not to be happy about it, but then they get back together and you decide that you’ve got to talk to this woman and convince her how bad an idea is this relationship. You son is applying to law school! He needs more time before he settles down! And, not incidentally, you need more time before you’re a grandma!

So you meet her, and first of all, she’s beautiful, but you are immune to that because you are on a mission so you tell the both of them your concerns. You tick them off on your fingers and you are clear and honest — but not-mean, you hope, and they listen politely. You do this three more times, and each time, they listen politely.

But they remain together, and you start to notice that your son is happy. He’s always been a pretty happy kid, but this is a different kind of happy. And you watch him with the kids — 13, 11 (just today!) and 8-year-old triplets — boy, girl, girl, girl, girl, in order — and they seem to get along. The kids are, in a word, great. They behave as if they’re loved, by their mother, her family, their father’s family, so you start your mission of getting to know them, a process that in no small part  involves learning to call the triplets by the right name when their mother, for convenience’s sake, dresses them alike.

And you think of the plans you had — for yourself and your son — and you vow not to cuss around them, and to try to have patience, and to be a  woman in their corner as much as is possible, but you hardly feel up to the task.

Then one day, your cell phone rings and a little girl’s voice says, “Hey, Granny Campbell,” and you blanch because the real Granny Campbell is dead, and you’re not old enough to be a grandmother, not prepared, not well-equipped, either.

But you renew your vow to be as good a grandma as possible, though you had a grandmother to whom you owe everything and if you live for 100 years, you can never live up to her standard of grandma. But you try.

So you go on hikes (see photo above). You go to museums. You take a snowy Saturday to go to a basketball game, where you sit yelling in the stands, for once secure that you’re calling the triplets by their right names because (at last!) they’re wearing numbered t-shirts on the court. And you wander over to an adjacent court to park beneath the basket while the 13-year-old shows off his freaky ability to sink three-pointers, and you show the 11-year-birthday-girl how very badly your mad basketball skills have deterioriated.

And afterward, as you’re driving home, you realize: This is so not in your plans, followed quickly by: Wasn’t that fun?

Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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  1. I just copied the last line of this post into my (non-Internet) journal. It applies to so much of what I’m feeling this week. Thank you for inspiring me with this writing :-)

  2. Wow. I have never been accused of writing anything inspiring. I’m going to have to go off by myself and think about that. Onward, Allison! And welcome to the neighborhood!

  3. Welcome to the club Susan! And I only just turned 47 last week. I have five grandchildren as well: two plus three. in my case it is an even more extended family simply because like Tony Soprano, once you’re family, you’re always family.

  4. Susan: First, kudos on “Dating Jesus” and the blog, which is on my daily reading list. You are part of a lifeline to home for me in America’s heartland of Grand Rapids, MI. And, what a sweet column. Think about how it follows the preceding post that love takes many forms and we should honor them all.

    1. Tom! How is it up there in the frozen north? You are so missed here. I bet your big ol’ family misses you particularly. I know we here at home do. I remain a fan. Hey to Kathy, too!

  5. Wow! Five at once. The picture of the girls looks so sweet. They don’t really all look identical to me, or is that just their different expressions?

    So, are there plans for a wedding, or is it too soon to know for sure?

    At the rate you’re staring out, you could end up having 10 grandkids like I now do! Plus Tom’s 3. It doesn’t take long when you start out, as we did, with 3 kids for me and 2 for him.

    Good luck and I hope it all works out!


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