Following My Own Advice

 A New Role for Grandma

Marlene in Hat

Since New Years’ Eve 2016 I have been in San Diego, living with my son and daughter-in-law and caring for their first child, my youngest granddaughter, while they work.

Meeting the needs of an infant is taxing physically and emotionally.  Ask  any young parent.   When the baby is awake at night, I lose sleep right along with her parents.  Sometimes I start watching the clock in the late afternoon, grateful to know that another adult will soon be here. But for the most part, spending my days with this precious child is exciting and fulfilling.  And very very worthwhile.

Every day I get to see tiny developmental changes, discoveries that she makes about her body and the world, and new skills growing as she works toward mastery. Her smiles refresh me when I am tired, and her unfettered laugh melts my heart.  Most infants express their emotions freely.  Her cries of surprise, hunger, and discomfort leave no douJoyful babybt as to their message, and joy can be seen in her face, her laugh, and her whole body at once.

Admittedly, there are days when I miss my home, my garden, my first grandchild Bean and her mother, my beloved Border Collie, and all my friends.  But this time in San Diego will be a short interlude in my very long life, and I believe it is important to give this tiny child the presence of a devoted grandmother for the few hours a day that her mother and father cannot spend with her.

Reading My Own Blog

Last summer, before I was asked to come here, I wrote an article about Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren.  Since I had no personal experience of living with a grandchild at the time, I drew from the years I have spent living just down the street from Bean and taking care of her part time.  I researched full-time caregiving in books and articles, and interviewed several friends who had either taken their grandchildren into their own homes or moved in with their own children to help.

I re-read that post this morning while browsing my Linked-In account, where I had posted a link.  It still reads true after living with this little peanut for two months, and I made note of a few ideas that will be helpful to us as we go forward.

But I’ve learned a lot about communal family living since writing that article, and now I actually know what it feels like to be an elder caring for an infant for extended periods of time.  I’m also beginning to think that this break from writing my blog has been long enough, and I am almost ready to start sharing my experiences and some of the things I have learned with others.

Is Anyone Still Listening?

I wonder if anyone is still out there, and if so, if you would be interested in reading my thoughts once again.  Writing a blog can feel very lonely.  I only know that someone is reading my words if they communicate with me.

As I consider returning to the keyboard I also wonder what else I might write about that would interest readers.

Which of my two years’ worth of articles did you enjoy the most? What kinds of things do you wonder about and would like me to research for you? Which of my stories stayed with you? Do you want more recipes, more activities to do with grandchildren, more tales of our adventures together? I would love to hear from you as I begin to write in my journal again and prepare to return to this blog.

Please post your comments below so that others may see them and continue the conversation, or if you would prefer, send them to me privately by clicking on the Ask Me A Question button at the top right of this page.

I await your instructions!

Marlene

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12 Responses to Following My Own Advice

  1. eunice March 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    Hi Marlene, Keep blogging, Eunice

  2. Jo Bumgarner March 3, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    Hi there! I guess more activities would be nice. I wish that I could retire (4 more years!) so that I could be of more service to Lauren and Justin with Samantha. But I do take care of the soon-to-be 3 year old on Monday afternoons. So, ideas for activities would be good.
    I’ll look forward to your blog!

  3. Susan Waltham March 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    All of your writing! It strikes me that grandparents of my generation are not just caring for their grandchildren but also their partners and their parents. Talk about being torn! Harder work being retired than working full time! x

  4. Marlene Bumgarner March 5, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    Thanks for your vote of confidence, Susan. You’ve just given me ideas for two or three posts!

  5. Marlene Bumgarner March 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    Activities coming up. I always enjoy hearing about what other grandparents do with their grandchildren too, so hopefully we can start a conversation.

  6. Marlene Bumgarner March 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    If you’re still reading, I’ll continue writing. Thanks for the boost.

  7. Lorna Adkins March 9, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    I am awaiting the birth of my first grandchild, a little girl due May 1st, and have been wondering what my role will be in her life. Meeting your little granddaughter in San Diego, Marlene, has made me excited to meet mine. I welcome any hints and observations! –Lorna

  8. Marlene Bumgarner March 9, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    Lorna,
    What a special time this is for you. I had no idea either of what role I would play in each of my (now 4!) granddaughters’ lives, and it has turned out to be different for each one. This is a great place for grandparents to share how they negotiate how that important relationship will look with each of their adult children and spouses. I hope to get some discussions going on that topic. So good to hear from you.

  9. Mary March 25, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

    My youngest grandchild is 12. So much for cuddly. But all 4 of them are a delight to
    me.

  10. Marlene Bumgarner March 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

    Mary,
    Thanks for your comment. I would love to hear about your relationships with grandchildren over 12. How do you stay in touch? Know what they like to do? Do any of them live nearby? Marlene

  11. Janet Myrick April 7, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    My grand daughter is almost 13. We don’t live close so haven’t ever had a chance to take care of her or our 7 year old grandson. I notice they love seeing me but first thing they ask is, “can we play on your IPad. Keeping them entertained seems to always be with electronics. I tried to show my grand daughter how to knit but attention span was just not there. As you say it is very exhausting trying to entertain them or even keep up with them but we love them dearly.

    I enjoy reading your articles and will signup for your newsletter. Take care.

  12. Marlene Bumgarner April 7, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

    Janet, it is so good to hear from you! Yes, distance can be a real barrier to building relationships with grandchildren. Some of my earlier posts have included ideas from other grandparents to stay in touch across the miles. And I am not immune to the “May I play with your iPad, Grandma?” plea either. I have addressed this issue on this blog in the past and will do so again.

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