Saturday, January 11, 2014

Life Sentence

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”   ~Elizabeth Stone

“Mo is better!” the words shouted out on Facebook tonight.  What a relief. Our little granddaughter, Moira, eighteen hundred miles too far away for Chief and YaYa hugs, came through that nasty virus with a smile on her face and exhausted parents on the sofa.

She has no idea what she put everyone through.
“Great doctoring, mom and dad,” I congratulated in the comment box. They’re the unsung heroes, aren’t they? Yesterday my son texted me, “We’re trying to give her food and keep her hydrated.” She was sick for a week. I’m pretty sure that means her parents haven’t slept for a week. And last week Mo’s daddy was sick, and big sister, Tully, was sick, and Mo’s mommy was the doctor on call.
They never tell you about months like this when they all show up with presents at your baby shower. They’re not allowed. No one would ever have babies if they told you the truth.  Hallmark would go out of business if, instead of pretty pastel Welcome Sweet Baby cards, they sold, Your Party Is Over cards.
I feel for all you parents out there, in over your heads in the trenches.  I really do. With what’s left of my mid-life, hormonal brain, I remember teething and shots and breastfeeding and temper tantrums and growing pains and sibling rivalry and. . no, that’s it. I can’t remember anything else. I probably dealt with teenage rebellion, but teenagers are the reason parents become vegetables like me, and the statute of limitations is up on those years.

It’s not polite to sue your children for emotional abuse anyway. It’s best to stay in denial and pretend they were never teenagers.
Besides, somebody said grandchildren are the sweetest revenge. If you play your cards right, your grandbabies will always think you’re as awesome as Santa Claus. It almost makes up for your kids thinking you were mean and clueless for twenty years straight. What really makes up for that is knowing that now they understand.

And they understand even better when they’re up all night and you’re sound asleep at home with Grandpa.
Still, that doesn’t make it any easier when your grandbaby is sick and all you can do is send text messages asking how she’s doing. And pray. At bedtime. When you’re trying to fall asleep. And stop worrying. Because you live too far away to help. When you’re trying to fall asleep. At night. With Grandpa snoring next to you. Sound asleep. Like you want to be.

So . . . watching your kids raise kids doesn't mean you're done worrying about your kids. Now you worry about them worrying about their kids. And you never do get to retire. There’s no revenge in this. My heart is still on the hook.
I’m still a parent after all.


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