A glimpse of grandma - hood
I’ve spent a lot of my summer cleaning out cupboards, closets, drawers, boxes and bins. I’m in my use it or lose it frame of mind, which doesn’t last long so I’m taking advantage of it. I want to simplify my home and make it more comfortable and less cluttered. Over the years, I’ve always given my unwanted stuff to charities. I trade it all in for a blue slip of paper that I give to my accountant with my taxes every year. This year my sister and I decided to do a garage sale at her house and it puts a new slant on cleaning out. It makes it easier to get rid of things when you might be getting green paper instead of blue. It’s also a great incentive to a 12-year-old girl to clean out her stash, too. Imagine, someone might pay for something that uselessly takes up valuable space.
I hang on to things that are sentimental, and I can make ANYthing sentimental. I can even go through my daughter’s stuffed animals she’s had for years and tell you who got it for her and whether it was for her birthday or Christmas or her actual BIRTH day. I even remember a lot of the names she gave them over the years, even though I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast today.
I semi-admire the women I know that can put anything and everything in the trash. How simple and clean their life must be. But I’m patting myself on the back because I am getting rid of so much stuff. I was parking it all behind my couch as I sorted through it all one weekend at a time but now with summer here, it made the pile rise up over the back of the couch forcing me to move it to a storage space. How good it feels to get a pile of unwanted stuff out of my home!
Going through everything means that I have to be very careful with my #BSOS (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome). When I come across the things that I know I’ll be keeping, I start going through them anyway. I don’t need to go through them but the sentimental magnet is strong.
I’ve saved some clothing from when my son, now 22-years-old, was young. Cowboy boots, a mini-Miami Dolphins jersey, shirts that he wore often and his outfit for his first professional photo shoot at JC Penney’s. As I was reliving some sweet memories, I came upon a lightweight jacket he wore often. Living in Florida, you don’t need jackets very often so one jacket can last through two winters. Between pee-wee sports and the playground and parks and walks and the backyard and the beach, he wore the jacket all winter long.
I came upon the red and white pullover a few days ago and it was almost as if I was lifting my sweet four-year-old son out of the bin. He was standing next to me, voice and all. I could hear him call my name while he was holding a plastic bat, I could hear him yelling after the dog as they ran around pretend baseball bases in the backyard. I could see him coming down the slide only to run back around and climb the ladder again. And I could see him running to me with his arms wide open happy to see me come outside to play.
If I would have given that jacket away years ago when he grew out of it, I never would have been flooded with those sweet memories, even though they made me miss that tiny, big-hearted boy. Tears of joy and memories gushed out my eyes.
I hugged the jacket to my chest until the urge to cry left me. Now I was going to have to find the strength to tuck it away once more with the sweet memories, and of course I’m keeping it.
I have sisters and friends all around me becoming grandmothers. They love being grandmothers and they tell me there’s nothing like it. No one tries to explain what it’s like, nor can they find the words to. They only say, just you wait and see.
After discovering that jacket, I don’t think I have to wait anymore.
Grandma’s…is it the fact that you almost feel like you’re holding your own children again? The ones that you lived a lifetime with when they were young and innocent and created so many memories with? Is it because you forgot what it feels like to hold your child in your arms, the only human being that you can feel that heart string being pulled with? Does it remind you that the time flew by too quickly and that you would love to have those days back, even if only for a short time? Does it remind you of the countless books you read to them and the million Crayola moments and the painting and the puddles and the cozy weekends in bed together and teeny-tiny ticklish toes?
My son is still the same boy to me. Bright and confident and giving with a huge heart. He’s not worried much about what people think but is always concerned with how they feel. He’s always been that same person. I’ve always liked him as much as I love him.
But there’s times when I reminisce and realize that there’s a little person that I raised and spilled my love and heart into that eventually just disappeared from my life.
Not when he grew up and learned to drive off with his friends. Not when he moved away to college. Not even when he gets a place of his own. Just by growing up and turning into an adult. It’s magic - he grew up overnight. I enjoyed every phase of his life as he grew. I always felt like I smuggled as much as I could from each age to take with me into my later years. We had so many good times together. But looking back, you are losing a child. Not in the disastrous, gut-wrenching way that some mom’s lose their little ones. But in a quiet, slow-moving, sneak-up-on-you kind of way. My daughter is only 12 and we laugh and love and have fun together, but I watch out of the corners of my eyes as she grows towards that sneak-up-on-you direction, too.
One day you look up from the couch when your son walks in the house from his trip home from college for the summer, and you see a man standing in front of you. (OhmyGodI’veMadeAMan)
His little laughs and giggles that came so easily, his excitement at Christmas time, his sleepy little face that found me for a snuggle in the mornings as I lay quietly in bed, are all only memories now.
That little boy is gone. But maybe, when my kids have kids, he’ll be back. And I can hug him until the urge to cry dissipates. And then I’ll pull out the crayons and stories and raincoats and I'll love my grandchildren as much as I love my own and enjoy them while they are close.
Katherine A. Rayne misses those two tiny kids from years ago, but is creating new memories and experiences with her 12-year old and 22-year old hearts.
“Once you have a child, your heart is forever outside your body.” unknown (YES, way!)