Friday, March 5, 2010

Grandparenting from Far Away


It is Sunday, November 25, 2007. I am in sunny Florida where the temperature is a it-feels-so-good 80 degrees and the sun is glorious. This is my permanent home now as of April 2004. I live on a wonderful little island called Anna Maria Island where the island's slogan is: "Paradise Without Attitude." That couldn't be any more true. Anna Maria is a quaint, charming, historic, laid-back and very friendly "old Florida-like" little barrier island situated on the Gulf Coast between Bradenton and Sarasota, about 1/2 way down the long state. To me, it really IS paradise. There is only one downside. And that downside is...............my two grandbabies live far, far away in the buckeye state--Ohio. My perfect world would be to have all of my family and dear friends move down here, too. But alas, that is not likely to happen! So, my grandmahood consists of as many trips to Ohio as I can make, along with phone calls, DVDs made from camcorders, and hopefully, one day soon, webcams.

I was concerned the first time I went back after Truman (my oldest grandchild, now age 3) was only about 18 months, that he would shy away from me. To my unbelievable delight, he seemed to really connect with me, and now he has ever since. Sometimes, he will go through about a 20 or 30 second "hide on daddy's leg" routine from which he quickly recovers. Then.............we speedily proceed to Grandma getting down on the floor ("Grandma, sit on carpet") to play many things. We play with Lightning McQueen and Buzz Lightyear and Dora the Explorer and those great, colorful Lego building blocks that I wish had been around when I was a little tyke. (I think we had Lincoln Logs and wooden blocks, which were certainly okay, but WOW, the colors of those lego blocks are great!) And we play "giggles" that we make up as we go. That's probably one of my favorites, because Truman will get right up close to my face and just giggle, and of course, it makes me giggle, too. It is more precious to me than I can express in mere words! Well, now then, I have a new one! New grandbaby. Truman now has a baby sister and her name is Brecken. He told me on the way to the hospital the day she was born (August 24, 2007) that he wanted a "girl brother." And his other Grandma and Grandpa had purchased for him a very special shirt which said "I'm the Big Brother." He was ready. He was now taking on a new roll of brother. No longer was he a son and a grandson. Uh-uh. He is now a BROTHER, too. And what a brother he is! He is so gentle and loving with little Brecken, it just warms your heart to see him. Even his little voice softens as he speaks to her. Now of course, we all know that will change over time, don't we? One day, she will just be his bratty little sister and he will argue with her and vice-versa. But for now, she is his "girl brother" and it is so cool to see him interact with her. So now, I have two reasons to have a sort of "split" heart! I say this because even though I love beautiful Ohio, I no longer want to live there. I truly deeply love Anna Maria Island and its warmth and beaches. Those are the reasons I moved here. But I surely do miss those little ones! They are absolutely one of the biggest joys of my life. I'm not sure when I'll get to visit again. I know Brecken will have changed a lot and will probably be sitting up and getting some "toofers" and all of those wonderful first-year things that babies do. In the meantime, however, I have the memory of her beautiful little face, surrounded by that incredible mountain of black hair. I have the memory of her sweet, soft, tiny little fingers grasping my larger one. And I particularly have this Truman memory that brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it: he and I were playing out in the dirt with his new little motorcycle shortly before I left to come back to Florida. It was in mid-October, and a rather nice warm day for Ohio that time of year. We were sitting in the dirt and I was telling him about how motorcycles do "hill climbing." So we made a hill-climbing track. And he was racing the cycle up the track. And all of a sudden, he reached over and plucked a late-blooming dandelion. Then he handed it to me, and said "here, Grandma, I picked a flower for you." I don't even have to tell you what that meant to me. So.....a short while later, we went back inside the house, I carrying my flower, which one of the dogs promptly tried to take out of my hand and munch. I was able to retrieve all of the stem, and a portion of the flower head, so of course, I immediately placed it in a safe place where I could press it and save it forever and ever. And even when it crumbles away, I will always have that memory pressed in my heart.

Being a Grandma is incredible! Thank you for allowing me to share my stories about MY grandchildren. Have a wonderful day! Sincerely, Janet :)

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