When I met my Bear, he had one grandchild. She’s now 20 years old and while she was a truly horrible child, she’s become a rather nice young woman. She calls, well, she did before the beer virus, or rather, she would text, because after all, she’s 20, and say, “hey, Grams!” Until about 2 years ago, that meant she wanted something. It kinda still does, but now it’s more often, “wanna have lunch?”
I never wanted kids. I knew from an early age that I just wasn’t cut out to be a mom. I’ve never been convinced that I made the wrong choice. Yet I married a man who had a son and by the time we married, two grandchildren.
It’s very easy to love grandchildren. They go home after a period of time. If they cry, you can hand them back to their parents. If they eat too much candy and throw up, you can hand them back to their parents. You can pretty much always hand them back to their parents.
At one point in time, we didn’t have the luxury of handing them back to their parents. Their parents split up and we became almost full time caregivers. Now we had not two, but three, the youngest being only 6 months old.
Dear sweet baby Jesus, THAT was joyful.
In all the chaos, there were good, sweet, joyful times. I stopped at the local thrift store one day and bought a variety of clothes – sizes were unsure so I did my best. We had the girls that night – Dad worked till 11 so they were often with us, sleeping in our bed till he came to pick them up. Grandpa was working, so it was just us girls, and we had a fashion show.
I loved that thrift store. I bought a Baby Gap red velvet dress for the little one for Christmas – she was 2 months old – for a dime. And on the day of the fashion show, I bought a sweet little white dress, with a ribbon woven through the bodice and puffy little sleeves and a peter pan collar. I took her picture wearing it, all smiles and baby sweetness.
A few years ago, I shared that picture on Facebook – the baby is now 15 and it’s my job to embarrass the grandchildren as often as possible. They tell me I do it well. I tell them everyone needs to be good at something.
Today I opened Facebook to a notification that the little one had shared that picture. I commented that I had just recently found that dress – while cleaning out a closet – and would she like me to save it for when she had a little girl of her own? A huge YES! and a heart – followed my comment. I’ve been smiling all day.
Things – might just be things to some. To me and my grandbrat – that little dress holds sweet memories. When people say we need to downsize and get rid of stuff – this is why I hold onto things. Because the memories are stuck to them. I think I could lose all my senses, and that little dress would bring back the feel of that child in my arms, and the smell of her hair, and the sound of her giggles when her grandfather made snoring noises on her belly. (We’re weird but we’re fun.)
I miss that little girl, but I love the young women all three are becoming.