DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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24 September 2014

Appreciating every change, every season

Our lives have been revolving tightly around our extended family recently. During a visit from Shane, Sarndra and Alex, we looked after Alex overnight while his mum and dad had a rare night out together at an engagement party in the big smoke.  It was the ideal time to be looking after Jamie as well, so he was dropped off during the day while Sunny prepared her new sushi bar for opening today.  Looking after two three year olds certainly has its challenges but oh, the laughs and smiles were non-stop. To hear my own grandsons talking to each other for the first time was priceless and unforgettable. They played so well together and even after hours of playtime, shared meals and trips in the car, they were still firm friends with no fighting, even over the small number of toys here.  They really like each other!

All secure in their safety seats on the way to the shops.

 Precious cargo.

This week we're dropping off and picking up Jamie from day care. It takes me back to my youth when life was wound tightly around my sons' wants and needs. It gives me a reason to regret the passage of time and to celebrate it too. When I was younger, with my own small boys to care for, I could never be sure what the future would bring. I certainly never thought too much about the gift of grandparenthood, but I'm pleased to be here now, just as happy as I was when I was a younger woman, and maybe more so. And who can tell what the future will bring. The only certainty is that there will be change and, in time, babies will replace grandparents.

Last Friday night at Sunny and Kerry's home.

Here at home, we have these little pockets close to silence in between periods when we're needed as care givers, then it's activity and noise while we do that caring, and back to silence and gentle slowness again. I can't describe the feeling I get knowing we're a necessary part of this family. The richness of our days is far beyond what I expected later in life. But here we are, still looking after boys, peeling fruit for little hands, reading story books aloud and picking up toys, again. I'm not sure how I'd go being a full time carer now. These brief periods are enough. They're precious to me but they're exhausting. Still, they're part of our changing lives and I'm grateful we have the opportunity to be active grandparents and part of this beautiful and ever-evolving family of ours.

Family life is about as complex as it gets and it doesn't suit everyone. It has its challenges as well as its rewards. How do you fit into your extended family?


21 comments:

  1. I believe there is no greater joy than seeing cousins getting on well. My sister's three boys and my two girls have always been close. They love each other still and include each other in many events and celebrations. (They are all now in their mid to late fourties) The seeds were sown at Grannie and Grandad's, my parents often being the meeting place for my sister and her family and me with mine. Now I rejoice to see my grandchildren, nephews and nieces and various godchildren and ex- foster children caring for each other and planning and playing as they move into and out of each other's lives.
    I am blessed that all our family still live within ten miles of us (the family home)

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    1. I agree, it's very special. My kids are still close with their cousins, my sisters' children, and my sons have a very good relationship with each other. They were born only 12 months apart so they're a lot like twins.

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  2. We live close to three of our four (and soon to be five) grandchildren, and we keep them quite often. We kept the 20 month old for six days last week and though we had a wonderful time, we were exhausted by the time we handed him back!

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  3. You have beautiful grandchildren !!!
    You are right, the most important is family and time spent with her !!!
    Taking care of children is exhausting, day - two can endure:-)

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  4. Lovely post Rhonda. You are one lucky woman. I'm due with my first baby in 2 weeks. It will be the first grandchild for my husband's parents and they are terribly excited. Unfortunately they live far away and will only be able to visit occasionally.

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    1. It's getting close for you. Get as much rest as you can in these final days. It's a very special time having your first baby. Take care. xx

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  5. I always said; having a big family is a decision for a special lifestyle.
    I still think it's very appropriate for our species.
    We have 3 daughters/2 sons/4 grandchildren. ('artgemaess' in german)
    But it's also ok, if they leave after a weekend.
    Mothers (and Dads of course) are heroes and I'm not in that age anymore :)

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  6. It's a special time, they grow up so quickly.
    My eldest grandson is now up to my shoulder - he was a baby five minutes ago.
    (I could be shrinking a bit of course, as we tend to do in later years.)

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  7. It's lovely to be able to help your own children as they get older, and grandchildren certainly are a wonderful gift, (and don't they give the best hugs), but I have to agree that they can wear you out after a while, I know my 'staying' power leaves earlier these days. It's lovely to see such little ones playing so well, your boys look as though they will be firm friends as they grow

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  8. Your grandsons are absolutely adorable, Rhonda! How lovely that you have the opportunity to spend quality time with them!

    I am still in the very busy parenting season of life, with four boys ages 16, 10, almost 9, and 7.5. My parents have always played a pivotal role in our lives, and like you, have spent many hours and days over the years looking after the boys, so that my husband and I could have some much needed couple time. Since our cross-country move earlier this year, we no longer have that luxury, and do miss seeing my parents on a weekly basis like we used to. Fortunately our oldest son is responsible enough to look after the younger ones while my husband and I run errands together and such. We do still miss my parents terribly though, and cherish the short time they are able to come out here to visit in the summer.

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  9. I have two grandchildren here and one overseas. They loved chatting to their 4 month old cousin on skype over the weekend. My little three year old grandaughter said to me (as we were tumbling the compost) - I love you so much grandma, can I live with you forever? Five minutes later she and her brother were picking on each other and turning into the children from hell! Being grandparents has its joys and its challenges. I am interested to hear what you do about presents with Christmas coming up Rhonda. We balk at the over-supply of toys the children have these days, but want to give them something for Christmas and birthdays. You cant give them something they dont have as they have it all already.

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    1. Hi! We tend to give money because we're not sure what they have and they do get a lot of toys. They both have their own bank accounts, so the money goes in there or for something special. Sarndra wants to buy a trampoline for Alex so our birthday money went towards that. In the future, I'm going to give them a special outing - the zoo, a show or a day out with us doing something special. xx

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  10. Rhonda, I was just thinking yesterday how I missed those years when the children were little and when I felt the nappy bag would be a permanent fixture :-) Now I am a nanna and look back and marvel at how quickly those years flew by. How important it is for little ones to feel love and security in those first few years!

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  11. I get exhausted as a mother of my own children and so I know it's bound to exhaust the grandparents however the grandparents have the luxury of handing the kids back to their Mum and Dad. I think Grandparents are very important in my kids lives and my Mum lives in Brisbane and the kids have sleep overs at a granny's place and they love it. The other set of Grandparents are in Melbourne and used to visit twice a year but haven't been in a position to do that that last couple of years however the kids ring and chat to them every fortnight and write letters or do drawings and we post them off to them. I love the old saying "It takes a village to raise a family" and Grandparents are a big part of that. It's lovely how the grand kids can spend time with each other as well. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  12. We had our 2 year old grandson overnight on Friday. He was so much fun. We took him out for ice cream and he was sticky from top to bottom when he was done but it was priceless! He was just a joy to have around. The next morning he was our helper for yard chores. We are so blessed to have him near and be able to spend time with him every week.

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  13. As much fun as it is for you and your grandsons to spend time together, I'm sure it's a huge help to your sons and daughters-in-law as well. I have two little ones, and we are lucky to live two miles from my husband's parents. Close enough to have dinner together or for them to have the kids over for a visit, which is wonderful. Grandparents are parents' sanity savers sometimes, I think. :)

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  14. Hi Rhonda - I've just been catching up after what seems like a too long absence. Wow look at your beautiful grandsons. They are growing up quickly. Your family are very lucky to have you and Hanno there sharing this special time in their lives. Your grandsons will remember it too, wonderful memories. Lxx

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  15. "...in time, babies will replace grandparents." But long before then, young men will replace the babies. They do grow up, and when you look back at it, it goes very fast. (Says the mother of a college junior!)

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  16. I love reading family posts. Your grandsons are adorable. I became a grandmother at age 46 and then due to circumstances became the one to raise my granddaughter. So now at 70, I have no little ones around. And I miss the chatter, the curiosity and wonder of children.

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  17. Such sweet lads! So blessed to be a part of their lives and making memories that they will always have and enjoy long after we are gone.. Our family all live within an hour so we get to be a part of their lives quite often.. Not everyday but we are here if they need us and they are there if we need them..Blessed to see the cousins all grow up as best friends, too.. Lovely post, my friend.. xoxo

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  18. I didn't grow up close to my extended family and now live some distance from our 3 children, their spouses and our 11 grandchildren. I DO have regrets that I don't live closer to them. Especially when I see the interchange between grandparents who have g'children living close to them around me......However, I DO hear the "exhaustion" part - and am glad that you inserted it with honesty here. Certainly, the joys outweigh the exhaustion....but I'm not sure grandparents were intended to be primary care givers long-term. My body in its current state would not be able to keep up

    It was beautiful to peek in a bit and watch your grandsons interact and entertain each other. That must have been 'specially sweet.

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