Grandparenthood, for me, has been an unexpected pleasure. Everyone said it would be fun, but I was doubtful. You see, I'm not a normal woman; I don't just adore babies as most women do. I don't generally gush and coo whenever I see a baby, even a particularly cute one. They are fine in their way but pretty self-centered, if you ask me. They are demanding of time, attention, caution, sleeplessness, and caring. It's all about them. And, almost inevitably, they cry when I pick them up.
I ascribe this indifference to babies to the fact that I was given too much responsibility at an early age for my younger brother who was born eight years after me. My sister Nancy and I were fascinated by him and she was an excellent caregiver at age 10, but I had a series of mishaps that taught me early on how delicate babies can be. For example, the bathwater that seemed just right to my leathery, eight-year-old, Hawaiian-tanned hide was too hot for a small fry - he screamed his indignation, bringing my mother and sister to the bathroom on the run. It only takes a few incidents like that to convince a little girl that baby care is best left to others.
Oh, I have loved certain babies. My sister's son Rob was one of the few babies I actively enjoyed, and I was almost immediately smitten by my friend Wendy's two children (my Fairy Godchildren), but as a general rule, I'm content to leave babies in their mothers' arms and admire them from afar. And, never having had children of my own (don't feel sad, it was a choice I contentedly made), I had no reason to get over my baby aversions.
So, you can imagine what a surprise it has been to so enjoy My Beloved's grandchildren, Mia and Owen, the children of his older daughter, Sarah. They are beautiful kiddos - always a bonus - but they are nice kids, too. Mia is as loving and sweet as a child can be, but with a dash of spirit and stubbornness that I find endearing. She is a snuggler and is never happier than when sitting on someone's lap. Owen is bold and mischievous, with a rebellious spirit that baffles us one moment and a smile like the dawning of the sun that charms us the next. He loves books about garbage trucks and runs to the fence in the back yard to wave every time he hears the fire engines. He is into ice hockey, even though he's too small to play - he knows all the players on his favorite team (the Boston Bruins) and most of the ones on the opposing teams, too.
And, now, just a few days ago, we have Miles, a beautiful son born to My Beloved's younger daughter, Katie. It remains to be seen what Miles will be like but, for now, he's a pretty mellow fellow. He even let me hold him for ten whole minutes without crying - a lifetime record for me.
Grandparenthood is perfect for me - lots of joy without much responsibility for the well-being of these little guys. I can recommend it.