With two clicks, the baby seat holding my precious little granddaughter was secured in my car; I buckled my grandson into his seat, and we were ready to go. I looked back as I was driving. Three child seats span the back seat of my car. Who would have dreamed that at this age I would be taking care of three little ones again.
Today I brought Luke & Emma to my house because their parents were busy settling into their new house. Yesterday they moved in and we spent the day unloading and unpacking, and today they were trying to create order out of chaos. The house is beautiful, and soon my daughter-in-law will work her magic and everything will be soothing and orderly.
Next fall, when my daughter-in-law goes back to work, I will be caring for all three of my little grandchildren during the week. Just as Alivia and Luke have become more self-sufficient and predictable, I am starting over with a tiny baby again. Am I crazy!! While many women my age are traveling and involved in countless adult activities, I will once again be spending my days amidst bottles, diapers, trips to the library, the playground and preschool.
Somehow, though, as it was when my own children were young, the daily drudgery of child care is rewarded by moments in time that fill my heart to bursting. Holding Emma in my arms and seeing her sweet smile as she opens her eyes, hearing Luke say, "I love you, Grammy," as he touches my face and kisses me, and feeling Alivia's arms wrapped tightly around my neck as she clings to me for her morning hug -- these are those moments. Watching Emma reaching and reaching for a toy and finally grasping it, watching Luke's pride in his new bedroom with his very own paddle fan, watching Alivia mesmerized by the library books we borrow every two weeks -- these are those moments. And, today, looking at the three little seats so carefully anchored in the backseat of the car -- knowing that each seat will be filled with one of these boisterous, happy, loving grandchildren of mine -- this is one of those moments.
Alivia will turn four this summer and Luke just celebrated his third birthday -- and it seems only a heartbeat ago they were as helpless and tiny as Emma. While the daily care of these children is tiring and tedious, the years fly as pages in a book. We hold them in our arms for such a brief time, and then they are gone -- leaving our safe, controlled little world of which they are the center, to be part of the bigger world they must learn to navigate. But the love and security I can provide during these early years will always be part of them, and these moments of unfathomable love will always be mine to treasure.