coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Growing Down, Not Up


Oh Man! (said in the voice of Swiper from Dora the Explorer) - is my hair ever crazy from the humidity!  It is so damn hot in Florida, like fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk kind of hot.  I kid you not.  I am letting my hair grow long enough to pull back in a ponytail so I can cool off.  Then I can wear a baseball cap or a bike helmet without looking like Bozo the Clown.  It is almost long enough now.  If that doesn't work out (i.e., I look ridiculous) I will cut it all off.   I have just been promising myself for so long that when I retired I would let my hair go gray, grow it long and become an eccentric old lady.  I hate to give up on a dream.

I have been babysitting our two and a half year old grandson, N, a lot this summer.  We play well together.  We do a lot of running around the house.  Literally.  He likes to chase me making monster sounds and I scream and run and pretend to be afraid of him.  We play hide and seek, although I am always the one who has to hide.  We pull the cushions off the sofa and make a fort.   I am unable to fit into it, but he insists that I at least get down on my stomach and push my head into the entrance.   Then we stand up inside the fort to break it all up.  Pillows fly, cushions crash.   Great fun.   He has one of those little trampolines where kids hold on to a bar and jump like crazy.   He “encourages” Grandpa and me to give him balls to throw at us with one hand while he jumps, holding on to the bar with the other hand.  When we swim in the pool he likes it when he and I gang up on Grandpa, squirting poor T without mercy using squirty bath toys we have turned into weapons.  It is Grandpa’s own fault because he is the one who first showed N how to turn bath and pool toys into weapons of mass destruction.  It is fun being a little boy.  I quite enjoy it.  The other day I babysat for him.  When his father came home from work at the end of the day, he asked N if he had seen Grandma that day (conversation starter, I guess).   N replied with great enthusiasm, “I saw Big Gwamma.  She’s a PARTY!”   I love that.  When you are a grandma, you have no pride.   You just want to be a party.

My granddaughter E, on the other hand, came in the house the other day after spending the night with her other Grandmother (Granny).  Wielding a wicked smile she threw her arms around me, gave me a heartfelt hug and announced “Sorry Grandma, but Granny is way more fun that you.”   I could not help but laugh out loud at her outrageousness.  E was thrilled that I let her get away with that.  Apparently my skills at entertainment do not extend to 10 year olds, but not for lack of trying.   I must hone my skills.  Perhaps Granny can give me some tips.   Granny, by the way, is my dear friend and she reads this blog.   She really is fun.  In fact, I wish she were MY Granny.  I can hear her laughing in my head right now.  She also thinks the things N and E do and say are funny.   In fact, so do Grandpa and Poppa and Granddaddy.   Come to think of it, I will soon call my mother to tell her about the “Big Gwamma, she’s a party” statement and she will laugh out loud from her nursing home bed.  It will make her day. 

Why do we think these things are so hilarious and precious?   Apparently it is genetically programmed into grandparents.  I remember my own sweet Grandma laughing hard at every precocious little thing any of her grandkids said or did.   Our antics gave her joy.  It was fun to make her laugh, and I took it quite seriously.  I had her in my life until 2000, and right up to the end I could make her laugh like a Gwamma should, and I still tried every time I saw her.  I would look her in the eye, flash a big smile and say something outrageous.  She loved me unconditionally and deeply.  I felt it.  I still feel it.  I really, really, really wish she were still around to see me being a Grandma.   She would then know how much of my Gwamma shtick is patterned after her.  Love is not something that diminishes with use; it only grows and extends itself through the generations.  Practice makes perfect.   



 

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