Grandparenting: On Sharing

Jet lagCadence and Daphne, Sleeping after Twenty Hours of Travel

My girl and her littles are back in California after four years living in the Pacific. I’m going to say that one more time, because this mama is so happy she can’t hardly stand it: My girl and her littles are back in California after four years living in the Pacific. Her husband will join them soon, then in a few weeks they’ll head on to their next post: Charleston, South Carolina.

Thank you, U.S. Navy, for helping my grandlittles become such expert travelers at a tender age.

Rich and I collected them, and three cats, and several pieces of baggage (let’s just say we took the car and the truck to LAX) at five a.m. on Saturday, then drove them two hours south to her dad, Jim’s, house in San Diego, where Elaine’s mother-in-law, Judi, was also visiting.

Once we arrived, Elaine, Daphne, and Sawyer (the four-year-old, not visible in the photo above), slept. Cadence reconnected with the toy collection at his grandpa’s house.

Saturday passed in amiable comfort as the collection of us–my husband Rich, my former husband Jim, Elaine’s mother-in-law Judi, and I–spent the day marveling at our grandchildren (Daphne’s grown five inches in a year!), planning a simple at-home dinner for that evening (I’d love to make my au gratin potatoes), and generally basking in the warmth that radiates off a gang of family.

Naps happened. Spontaneous hug-fests burst out. Congeniality festooned the room. The resident cat and the three interloping cats conducted brief peace talks and then agreed to ignore one another’s existence. Grownups hashed out details of the next day’s Easter celebration in whispers while the children played outdoors.

Later that day, Rich and I slipped off to check into our hotel and rest. We returned that evening, in time to make au gratin potatoes, then we all sat down to a reunion feast.

Later, after we had returned home on Easter, someone asked me, So when is your turn?

I looked at her, blank. My turn?

Yeah. Won’t they come and stay with you while they’re here?

I mumbled a vague response and backed out of the conversation. I could see her point: my selfish nature would love to keep my daughter and her babies all to myself.

Okay, all to Rich and myself. 

But here’s the thing: Elaine and her children missed all their family members while they were overseas. Why would I want to prolong that ache by demanding a private audience?

And here’s the bigger thing: 

Everyone wins when children see the grown-ups they love pouring coffee for each other, offering the best chair, and otherwise treating one another with kindness.

Everyone wins when young moms aren’t asked to make choices, after a long, challenging trip (or any time), about which parent they will visit first. 

Everyone wins when past hurts are kept where they belong: in the past. 

And everyone wins when a favorable adult/child ratio is achieved for the Easter egg hunt.

Easter 2015L-R: Sawyer and His Grandma; Daphne and Elaine in Kitchen; Cadence.

rabbit conga

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:17-18 (ESV)

rabbit conga

On Tuesdays, we’re talking about families and the joys and challenges that arise when we stretch across three (or more?) generations (child, parent, grandparent). The conversation began on January sixth  and we’ll continue until we run out of things to say. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to hear from each generation’s perspective.  Being family is by turns effortless, impossible, blessed, challenging, hurtful, joyous . . . . Let’s talk about it.

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