I love being close in proximity to four of our seven grandchildren. It is wonderful knowing I am able to see them daily, hear about their day (at least from the older ones), play games, work puzzles, read to them, and watch them grow into amazing little people. But, most of all, to get and give hugs and kisses and hear, “I love you, Gigi.” I like that I am available to be with them, sometimes at a moment’s notice, which I was unable to do before we moved. Of course, it meant being farther away from our Charlotte grands, but as they are all in school, the need for my help, attending a function, or coming for a visit is usually planned well in advance.
Grandchildren keep me young. That being said, it also take lots of energy to keep up with them. As much as I want to be there any and every time they need me, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I am very fortunate that my daughters always stress that they do not want me changing plans or feeling pressured to come. If you are one that takes care of your grandchildren on a daily basis, I think you are wonderful for helping your family, but it is also important to take some time just for you.
When I was a child, I can think of only one friend whose mother worked outside the home. Her grandmother lived with her family and was the caregiver during the week. When our daughters came along, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with them, as were many of my friends. My “me time,” in their early years, was getting the house in order, going to the grocery store, doing volunteer work, meeting a friend for a quick visit, or a club meeting before picking them up from Mother’s Day Out. The three hours went by quickly, but it was a nice break—probably for my girls as well.
I like being able to give my daughters that time. I also like knowing that it isn’t expected and that they want me to enjoy being free to go and do. Last year, my husband made a New Year’s resolution to go somewhere every month. We would get busy and realize we hadn’t left town, even though our intentions were good. In looking back, we missed several months. This past December, after a very busy year, he said he would like for me to plan a trip in February to go “somewhere cold and snowy.” We chose Montréal, Canada, where we had plenty of both, and had a fantastic time. The week went by much too quickly, but we both came home rested, relaxed, and recharged. A week after returning, my husband jokingly said—at least I think he was joking—“We need to plan another trip.”
Getting away from the routine of everyday life is cathartic for us. Coming home after time away, I can’t wait to see my family. I have missed my darlings’ hugs and spending time with them. We all need to take a moment every once in a while to regroup. Taking a day with nothing planned to sit and read, garden, work on a craft, get a massage, or stay in your pajamas and watch TV, whatever you choose to have a “me” day can renew your spirit. My guess is this article is primarily read by grandparents, but this message is for everyone. Our lives are busy—lots of comings and goings. Certainly not like my grandparents who spent hours out on their front porch sitting in their rocking chairs, watching the world go by—maybe that’s why they lived well into their 90s. Definitely something to ponder while you take time for yourself.