By Bruce Stambaugh
I don’t know why my wife and I couldn’t see it. It took the wisdom of our daughter to realize what was happening with her trio of kids, our three grandchildren.
My wife and I live in Ohio. Our grandchildren live in Virginia. We visit them when we can, and they return the favor when their schedule allows, which isn’t nearly often enough from Nana and Poppy’s point of view.
We understand their situation. At ages nine, seven and four, Evan, Davis and Maren are busy, busy, busy. This time of year, of course, their days are mostly filled with attending school.
Their summers are nearly as clogged, only with Little League baseball for the boys. The season seems to last and last, especially when it is extended with tournaments.
Along with their other grandmother, we did do a beach vacation with them in June, which we greatly enjoyed. But that’s not quite the same as being at their home or they being at ours.
Let’s just say that the ability to pile into the van with their parents and head northeast to visit us is rather limited. Which leaves us with one option. If we want to see our grandchildren other than in summer and at Christmas, we have to go visit them.
It only makes sense after all. Our schedules are much more flexible than theirs are. So we go when we can or when we are needed. Lately, it’s been more of the latter than the former.
What a year it has been for our daughter and her family, too. After a three-year search for a new home, they finally found a lovely place that mostly suited their family’s needs. It is located in the same general area of town as where they had rented.
What a plus that was for them, too. The boys didn’t have to change schools, and there was no major adjustment to a new neighborhood. The new neighbors might have to adjust to them, however. They are one of the few families with young children in their stable neighborhood.
The problem was that our arriving always seemed to signal a red flag for the grandkids. The sign was plain as day to them. When Nana and Poppy, or one or the other arrived, a new wind blew. Mom or Dad or both were about to exit the scene.
The kids saw the consequences and reacted as children do. For whatever reasons, we didn’t get it. We do now.
Our daughter and her husband are as busy as their children. Our son-in-law has his professional career with the nearby university, and our daughter helped coach the university women’s volleyball team, not to mention her many duties at church.
On top of all of that was the unexpected purchase and remodel of the house. Throw in the transition of the youngsters, and the arrival of the senior division of the Ohio cavalry for babysitting appearances, and you get the picture.
So there it was. When Nana and Poppy arrived, something drastic was in the works in the lives of our three grandchildren. Kids being kids, they each showed their youthful angst through various bold behaviors. Nothing serious, mind you, just disconcerting.
The solution is straightforward. Nana and Poppy simply need to visit and enjoy time with the entire family, no babysitting, no rule changing, just plain family fun.
That’s the ideal role for Nana and Poppy for which all can be thankful.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2013