Parenting has often been called a “second childhood,” but these days, grandparenting can feel like a “second parenthood.” I’ve probably spent more time with my grandkids in this past year than I ever spent with my grandparents my whole life! Two weeks in Palm Springs in the Winter Holidays, two weeks in San Francisco in March at the beginning of sheltering, two weeks in Portland/ driving cross-country/ northern Michigan with four more to go. But not the kind of grandparenting where you see them for a couple of hours and go home. Especially with the father going to an actual workplace in Portland and their mother working online, it really is parenting again in 8-hour shifts, aided considerably when their Aunt Talia is also available (she is now).
Mostly I love it. I’m certainly prepared for it with a lifetime of parenting and teaching as training. Besides the classic games like Sorry and Uno, the old card games of War, Go-fish, Rummy 500 and the newer 5 Crowns, the traveling games like G-H-O-S-T, my Grandmother’s House, Concentration, I Spy, Old Doc Jones, there’s frisbee, paddleball, pillow fights, walking up giant sand dunes, riding waves, swimming, cooking, drawing, reading, singing. I’ve been giving piano lessons to Zadie and that’s going surprisingly well and piggybacking daughter Talia teaching Malik to read. (It’s working!)
Then there’s the fascinating conversations, the humorous banter, the spontaneous songs and occasional dances. It’s a heap of fun. But the territory also comes with explosive tantrums, sibling rivalry, the endless plea for instant gratification, the cajoling to finish dinner, the clean-up time resistance. In short, the full 100 yards of childhood in all its glory and difficulty. Again, I mostly love it, but would be less than honest if I didn’t admit missing both solitude and adult time. Grandparenting in slightly smaller doses.
Late at night now and Malik awakens early. Better go to bed.