The other half of the week I am "Grandma Dawn" for Anakin, Care Bear, and Feisty (as they are blog-named by Kristen in http://kristenssocalledlife.blogspot.com/. Throw in "mom" to two grown children and their spouses, and it's no wonder.
Kristen and I split job time when Feisty was born. She had already been working half-time in her job at our university since Care Bear was born and Anakin went to kindergarten. When Feisty was born, the cost of day care was absolutely prohibitive. I needed a change in my job as well, since I had lost my beloved boss to retirement. Several things led up to the need for a change. I decided to offer Kristen my services as caregiver the other half of the week. I proposed the change to my boss and I believe she was as eager for a change as I was. I kept the part of my job that I loved and was really good at and eliminated the other. Can't get much better than that, eh?
I've explained the "Grandma Dawn" moniker previously - it began when Anakin entered my life at age two as Kristen's stepson. He eased us into the grandparenting life a little bit at a time. When he was 4, Care Bear was born, and 20 months later, Feisty entered the mix.
Silly me - I thought if I stayed home half time, I might actually get something done while I was caring for the kiddoes. Silly me!!! They are a full-time job and I go to work to rest up! I truly get it that God planned on children being born to young women for a definite reason. But - I do have much more patience with them than I had with my own - spilled milk on the floor just doesn't bring the reaction it did for poor Kev, who spilled almost every meal.
I love these children with every fiber of my being. They make me laugh. They keep me on my toes. Anakin is ADD, so presents patience challenges every day. He is so very smart, but has so much trouble focusing and remembering his lunch box, homework, coat, backpack, on and on and on. But when he comes up with an observation that just zings me, I tend to forget those other things. For instance, the other day we were on our way to school when he noticed the sun was not shining here in Colorado, as it usually is. He said, "Grandma, look, the sun is hiding behind that big cloud up there. But it's starting to come out a bit more. It's like God's holy spirit shining down on us." I love it!
His biological mother has been picking him up on Saturdays, so he's missed church and dinner with us every Sunday for weeks. She has had a change of schedule recently, so he has been to church and SS the last two weeks. He has a fabulous singing voice and they really need him in the Christmas musical. Two weeks ago, he came in my house, plopped the CD into the player, sat on the couch, and proceeded to sing every song, right on tune, after the first time he'd been to rehearsal. I hope this new schedule continues so he can sing in the performance - and that his mother will come to see him presenting the story of Christmas. He has to dress up as some sort of toy, so that is presenting a bit of a problem. I suggested Woody from Toy Story, but he wasn't interested. Any good ideas? Keep in mind that Kristen and I are both costume-challenged.
Then there's Care Bear. Oh, my goodness, what an amazing little person she is. She chatters and sings non-stop all day long (except when she's in a program where she's supposed to sing - then she totally clams up)! But she has such an understanding of life and the way things work. She uses words that I can't believe she knows, and she uses them in the right context.
Yesterday we were driving down the road. Feisty (age 2) noticed that I did not have my seat belt on yet and called me on it. I said, "Oh, no, bad Grandma!" Care Bear piped up, "You're not bad, Grandma." I replied, "No, not bad, just forgetful." She said, "Yes, Grandpa P. is forgetful, too. He forgot his coat at our house." For much of the afternoon she was singing a made-up song about "surfing the web." What in the world does she know about surfing the web??
Feisty is living up to her name, big time. We thought at first that she'd be the calm, submissive third child. Uh-uh! She can hold up her end of the sibling rivalry just fine, thank you very much! But what a doll. She also sings in the car - they have 4 Christian children's cd's in my player in my mini van (which I bought to transport them, because it's so much easier on this grandma's back!) We have discussions every day about which cd is playing when - they each have their favorites. And they have their favorite songs on each cd, and I have to keep those track numbers in my head - for instance, Care Bear wants to start at the beginning of her favorite one every time, and Feisty wants to go to #20 - Who Did Swallow Jonah (whale did, whale did. . . Jonah wasn't an airy bubble, caused great pain to Jonah - hilarious!) So it goes on and on. I was actually singing that sing in my head during the night recently - couldn't sleep! Yesterday as we were walking to the park in the double stroller, Feisty was making up a song, "We're going to Grandma's park." Precious.
Well, that's a day in my life - it starts when I go 3 doors down to Kristen's house so she can head for work. Then we wrestle with getting Anakin ready for school and there by 8:10 (so he can play a few minutes on the playground before the bell); then home for breakfast, frequently baths and unwanted hair-washing, reading books, maybe watching a video from the library.
Every other Friday we go to the library and stock up on books and videos. The original intent was to go to story time, but Care Bear prefers to just do the art project while the story lady is reading the stories and doing finger plays. So sometimes we skip story time and just go get books and videos. On the way home, without fail (because I did it once and now it's "routine") they begin to beg to go to Kamp C (KFC - but it's too cute to correct, since it's one of the very few things she still says incorrectly). They each have a bowl of mac and cheese and split a caffeine-free soda. Because we went to the Dairy Queen one time after mac and cheese, they want that to also be part of the routine. Sometimes I give in.
They are little creatures of habit. They are gorgeous. They are fun. They are exhausting! I am blessed. And I want to believe that they are, too, to have Grandma Dawn in their lives so much of the time.