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?

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