Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grandma Day Care

Like many mothers today who work from home so they can be with their children, I take care of my grandbaby while I work. I jokingly call our business, “Electrical Contractor & Day Care.”

I sit at the computer this morning with neat piles of work on my desk that must be finished by the end of the day. And yet, instead of working, I am writing about my baby granddaughter. As I write, I hear her waking slowly from one of her little “catnaps”. She is not a baby who lives by schedule, and sleeps only in twenty-minute increments during the day, which necessitates that I creatively juggle my business responsibilities.

This new phase of my life brings back memories of earlier days with my own children. I recall my unsuccessful attempts to schedule their baby needs, and the resulting passage of days which seemed to consist of nothing more than feeding, cleaning up and rocking tired babies. This morning, I placed Alivia in the high chair while I fixed breakfast for my husband, poured formula into her oatmeal and added a little fruit, sat down with my own plate of scrambled eggs in front of me and proceeded to spoon a bit of cereal into Alivia’s little bird mouth and a forkful of eggs into my own. However, Alivia had different ideas. She was too tired to eat – she wanted her bottle, and she wanted it now. So, I held the bottle for her, as I finished my eggs. But, before I could spoon another bit of oatmeal, her eyes were closing tightly.

So, I took off her bib and carried her into the office with me for five minutes while I made copies of a proposal and got the drawings together to be taken out to the jobsite. Once this was finished, I snuggled into the rocking chair with her and she sleepily finished the rest of her bottle. Then, I cuddled her against my chest until her body became heavy with the weight of sleep, kissed her precious silky head, and placed her into her bed, covering her with a soft blanket. I breathed a peaceful sigh of relief --

I went back into the kitchen to clean up – rinsing out her bottle, cleaning up the high chair, placing the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. I was reminded of the years and years of my life that have been spent doing these very same chores. And I marvel at the immensity of time women spend on these daily tasks while they are raising families.

And, here I am, almost sixty years old, beginning the cycle once more. I have the luxury of working from a home office, and pray every day that I will have the energy to care for all of my grandchildren when they are tiny, if their mothers work. Next year, Lord willing, I will have a little grandson to care for also. It is time-consuming, tiring, and repetitious work, but there is nothing that can compare to the knowledge that you are helping to create lifetime memories and a strong sense of security for these little ones. I hope that none of my grandchildren will ever have to be placed in the arms of strangers during the day.

Already, having Alivia here each day has created a firm bond between us. I look forward to the pleasures I will share with her and her future cousins. I imagine reading to them, having tea parties with them in the garden and taking them to the playground. Of course, many of my days are a bit overwhelming. I wish I did not have to work –it would be wonderful to be retired and have no other responsibilities than this gentle job of baby-tending, but, life is what it is, and I will make the best of it. And, I will be certain to savor these baby years which pass so swiftly.

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