Okay, I admit it, I am a worrier. I am not so bad that worrying affects my everyday life or stops me from doing things, and I don’t worry about myself (except occasionally during a senior moment); it’s more about my family. I realize it’s pointless, as I have no control over something that might happen. But from the minute they came into my life that’s the way it has been. I doubt that I am alone in this.
Your first worries tend to be: why aren’t they sleeping or are they sleeping too much?; why are they crying?; what does that cry mean?; are they eating enough?; are they gaining enough weight?; are they dressed too warmly or not warmly enough?; and the list goes on.
Your worries increase when the infant becomes a toddler and crawls and then walks. You go from being their mobility to following them around their every waking moment because the minute you take your eye off of them is the minute they get hurt.
From this point on, their independence continues to grow. Their total dependence on you keeps decreasing, but your worries only increase. Besides their physical well-being, you also have to deal with their emotional health. Once they are grown and on their own, you still worry, but they are adults, so you are more relaxed. Although you still make them call you when they get home after a trip.
Then comes the day they ask you to keep the grandkids. Depending on their ages, all the worries come flooding back, but even worse. These precious ones have been entrusted to your care. Yes, you raised children, but like everything else, things change. Over the years, children have suddenly developed the ability to move at warp speed. This, along with other concerns, came to mind when our daughter and son-in-law had the opportunity to go to Hawaii for 12 days and asked us to come to their home to watch our grands, ages four years and 16 months. I love being with them, but the fears started creeping in. Would I be able to handle any emergency? Fortunately, their grandad, Pabo, is not one to panic, and neither of us had to the entire time. Outside of a stomach bug, both grands stayed healthy and in one piece. My stress level dropped as soon as I heard their parents pull in the garage.
Another incident, more recently, ended up with a trip to a plastic surgeon’s office. We were at a playground when a child slid into my granddaughter, causing her head to slam into the side of the equipment she was playing on. This resulted in a deep gash right above her eye. I watched as my daughter calmly got her back to the car as I grabbed my grandson and followed behind. Our youngest daughter was with us, and fortunately, so was my doctor son-in-law. Watching them discuss the next step made me wonder if I would have made the same decisions if I had been alone.
Outside of keeping everyone in a protective bubble and not moving, which, of course, is impossible, you can’t keep life from happening. You can take precautions, but kids are kids. There will be bumps and bruises, and possibly stitches and broken bones. Hopefully, there will never be anything worse.
Years ago, I took a CPR class. This was well worth my time and gave me a sense of preparedness, which I hope never to have to use. I highly recommend taking that and a basic class in First Aid, making sure to include instruction on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on infants and children. There are a number of places that offer such classes in the community, such as the Red Cross, local health departments, the hospitals, and some private doctors’ offices. Make inquiries to find one that works for you.
Once you complete the course, you will enjoy some peace of mind. Then, the next time you are asked to keep your grands, you can truthfully say, “Sure, no worries!”