Being 9

Something happens to us when we grow up. We forget what it’s like to be a child, because we don’t see life the same way we once did. The wonder of a new world is lost. We may gain wisdom and experience as we age, but we lose the magical perspective we had when we were little.

Everything changes; it’s the natural order. But wouldn’t it be nice to go back in time and look at the world through the eyes of a child?

Photo by Cynthia Petersen

Photo by Cynthia Petersen

We push through the growing pains and awkward moments of childhood, and emerge a more mature version of ourselves. We hit the ground running as we enter adulthood, a little fearful, but determined to make a name for ourselves. We work hard to pay the bills and put food on the table while we raise our families. The older we get, the faster time passes. We lose track of the years, but then the kids finally move out and start families of their own, and we can finally breathe again.

About midlife, we start to think about the past; life didn’t always go the way we planned, so what do we do now? Maybe we feel a little sorry for ourselves, but if we’re lucky, all that dissipates when we have grandchildren.

We love our kids dearly but being a grandparent is so much better (sorry kids). Maybe it is because we don’t have the responsibilities and pressures we did when we were parents, or maybe grandchildren are God’s reward for a job well-done.

We get to spoil our grandchildren, have fun and eat junk food that isn’t normally allowed, and then send them home to mom and dad. And it’s all acceptable because we are Grandparents.

I have 9 grandchildren, with another on the way, and I adore every single one of them. And they love me just because I’m Grandma, which is pretty awesome.

My granddaughter, Isabelle, is an extraordinary child. She was a colicky baby and a naughty toddler, but she has blossomed into a beautiful young lady, with a soul to match. She is thoughtful and caring, and helps me out even when I don’t ask, which is a lot to expect from a 9 year-old.

Isabelle is not perfect. She picks on her little sisters and has an over-whelming amount of energy. She is impulsive and easily distracted, and doesn’t always listen. But Isabelle has the kindest, most generous, heart of anyone I know. She loves animals and wants to be a zookeeper when she grows up. She loves to climb trees and spending time outside. She loves to create anything, which is something we share. In fact, we have a lot in common. When I look at Isabelle, it’s like looking in a mirror. How can I not adore her?

This little girl is giving me a wonderful gift; she is helping me remember what it’s like to be 9 again.

When I was 9, I felt invincible. I wasn’t afraid to take chances. I didn’t second guess anything, because to me, nothing was impossible.

But as we grow up we forget that. But maybe, if we’re lucky, we might get a second chance to see the world like we did when we were 9.

I’m not sure I would want to go back and relive my entire childhood, but it’s nice being able to spend time with your friend; remembering what it’s like being 9.

A baby is born

I have a new grandson. Gabriel Matthew was born Feb. 3 at 1:20 p.m. He weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz. and he and his mother are doing great.

Gabriel Matthew, born Feb. 3, 2014

Gabriel Matthew, born Feb. 3, 2014

Caryn didn’t have an easy pregnancy with Gabe. She was sick and sore and had several medical problems that weren’t really associated with having a baby. She developed a hernia in her belly button when she was seven months along, and they had to repair it. The procedure itself went well, but as she was healing, the baby kept kicking, as babies will do, and it was very painful.

So after 10 months of pain and misery, he finally made his appearance.

We couldn’t be happier. Especially my mother. Gabe is her 20th great-grandchild.

My mom is homebound and depends on me to relay information about the outside world. I called her Monday to tell her about the baby and she asked, “Who does he look like?”

My first response was, “Nobody.”  But as I watch Caryn feed and cuddle him, it occurred to me that he looks a lot like his older brother, Jake, (who’s 3) whose looks are a combination of his mom and dad, as is often the case.

When a baby is born, that’s usually the first thing that is asked. Who does it look like? The mom or the dad? But, really, does it matter?

Maybe they are just making conversation or maybe they really do care what the baby looks like. Or maybe they are really just musing about the miracle of life; how the DNA moves from one generation to the next, changing, merging, creating a unique being. I know that goes through my mind.

What a miracle life is. All of it.

When I think about how we were  all were born, how we grew, how we were able to learn everything we did, it leads to the next topic of conversation in my head; what or who is God, really? And why did he decide to create life as we know it? What is his purpose for us and what does he want from us?

I have my own ideas about all this, as I’m sure everyone else does, too. I am grateful that I am able to comprehend any of it, and I continue to look for more clues about what it all means.

But today I am content thinking about my new grandson, how unique he is, and enjoying his cuddliness.

I have 11 grandchildren now. When I tell people this they look at me in shock. I’m not sure why. My grandma had 35. And my mom has 22. I have perfectly fine with 11. Besides, the number isn’t important; it’s more about what I can do to better the lives of my grandchildren; how I can help make them into the people they were meant to be.

I love being a grandmother mostly because they love me just because I’m me. I’m a fun grandma; I play with them (when I have the energy) and we bake, and do crafts, and make things, something I wish I could have done with my grandma.

But as much as I would do anything for them, I also make sure they learn to play nice and respect others. I can be a meanie, too, though it doesn’t happen too often.

I’m amazed at how easy it was for me to slip into this role as Grandmother. But then again, I’ve practicing for it my entire life.