This I Believe

Patricia - Litchfield Park, Arizona
Entered on February 24, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family

I believe once you become a grandmother your brain chemistry changes. I call this weakening ‘Nanaitis.’

I spent several days with our two grand-daughters while my daughter-in-law recovered from leg surgery at home. We went to the Crayola factory, a combination crayon factory plus canal museum to ensure everyone’s sanity. Hours were spent coloring, painting, rolling play dough and playing in water with boats. We didn’t get back to the house for six hours. I know I’d never had the energy to spend time like this with my children.

During the night the almost-two was up coughing. I took her into my bed where she tossed and turned. I have bruises on my face and hips to prove it. Mind you, my own children were never permitted to share the bed with my husband and me.

Day two, off to see the doctor to ensure the younger girl hadn’t contracted some rare disease. The doctor diagnosed a rotten cold. On return home I noticed two new teeth.

When our seven children were growing up, I didn’t allow illness. This is what my kids tell me.

Again that night, the almost- two came to my bed and proceeded to toss and turn, while I said kind things in her ear. I’m sure my children never received this kindness during the night hours.

Day three, I took the girls to church for a visit. I pointed to a stained glass window and proclaimed that their father was named after Saint Michael. “You mean the fairy man,” the four year old responded looking at the man’s wings and pretty face. My own children were made to attend Mass and sit still for the hour.

Next on the agenda, a visit to McDonald’s for some milk and an hour on the indoor play ground. Then it was off to the mall for lunch. The four year old said her mother only ordered pretzels for them. I knew this was twisting the truth, but I watched with indulgence as they ate every morsel.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at an agricultural display where the girls petted animals, received coloring books, pencils and a coveted tattoo – the rub off kind.

The finale happened that night. This time the almost-two slept, but the four- year- old decided it was her time to share night hours with her grandmother. She told me she was hungry. So at two in the morning, I made macaroni and cheese. Propped up with multiple pillows in my bed, the feast was eaten followed by a glass of milk. Her giggles made my heart dance. A contented child returned to her bed. I never made macaroni and cheese in the middle of the night when I was a Mom.

I’m fortunate to have twelve grandchildren, but with each child there is a change in my brain – ‘Nanaitis.’ Their presence makes me happy, even in the middle of the night. Do you think I need help?