It was love at first sight. But, I dared not come on too strong. Don’t be the first to hug or kiss. Take it slow. Let things take their natural course. Whatever would be, would be.
I played things right. The object of my love was a sweet two and half-year old girl. She came into my life when my daughter married the toddler’s father this summer. And, just like that, overnight, I gained a son-in-law and a grand-daughter.
Leading up to it, I’d never given much thought about this new chapter of my life. I had no expectations at all. Let me tell you what I’ve learned so far…
Grand-children make you see the world in a better way. Because you want them to experience life to the fullest, you view things differently now.
When you plant your vegetable garden, you buy rainbow-coloured Swiss chard with rainbow-coloured roots. Why settle for plain brown roots?
You water with an elephant watering can.
Even though you know that’s second best. You would’ve bought a real elephant to water the garden with its trunk if you could!
You notice Cheerios…
and a dog…
get planted along with the vegetables. You don’t take gardening—and yourself—quite so seriously now. How could you?
You notice the little plant identification tags are all pulled out, shuffled and stuck randomly back in the soil. You just chuckle again.
You marvel at the way a grand-child’s mind works. You let her explore your garden, picking up stones and re-organizing the garden path edging. You let her “keep busy” with her own gardening project. Secretly hoping she doesn’t notice you pull out weeds and think she should pull out plants too!
You see the fun in things. Your bath towels don’t seem animated enough. You buy a Paw Patrol beach towel for her bath.
Because a bath is more fun when seven dogs are waiting to hug you after it’s done.
You freeze water in an empty cream carton so she’ll have an ice boat for the bath. Because you remember your Dad doing the same for your children. You want to keep the tradition alive.
You realize you should’ve bought a booster seat and plastic bowls but allow her to feed herself anyway, sitting on an adult chair with the level of her head about even with the table. You know independence is good for children.
You don’t bat an eye when the chocolate cake she attempted to eat ends up on the white chair.
Messes can be cleaned. The lesson of mastering a fork trumps messes.
You let her walk your dog. And, are amazed at how gentle the dog and grand-child are with each other. Kindred souls.
You watch her explore things in your home. Always under watch, for sure. You watch her strum your husband’s guitar and play your piano. You coo at her fantastic musical abilities.
You decide cling-on decorations on mirrors for Thanksgiving and Halloween should be at toddler eye-level. You even decide your favourite scary Halloween decor shouldn’t be displayed this year.
You buy different groceries now…drinkable yogourt in cute little containers…
and goldfish crackers in an assortment of colours. Because eating should be fun.
But, what you learn most of all is that a grand-child makes you a better person. A kinder, more patient person. A more loving person. And, how remarkable is that!