In this undated photo, Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg (left) holds his granddaughter Jeanne, while his wife, Jeanne Bragg, holds Mary during a family celebration in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo submitted)
As I type, I am joined in my 5-foot-by-10-foot writing cubicle by my granddaughter, Jeanne.
Within the past few minutes she has taken everything out of the garbage can, figured out how to peel mailing labels off an Avery sheet (I have trouble doing that), figured out how to pull single sheets out of the filing cabinet, and fussed when I led her away from the shift bar on the computer.
She and her mom, daughter Ann, have been visiting for a few days while daddy/hubby travels for work.
Her mom even left her with me for a long weekend so she could join him for a mini-vacation, and dad joined us for her first birthday party.
I have often made note of the fact that the average age of a grandmother is 47. I was 63 when Jeanne, my one and only “grand” was born.
I told her mother that if Jeanne marries when she is 21, I’ll be 84.
That’s more like the great-grandmother in my books!
Because we are “old” as grandparents go, I was concerned about the physical work that keeping her entailed.
But I can say tell you that it has been glorious.
Here are some observations I have made on being a grandparent:
• It’s easiest when we follow a schedule.
I try very hard to follow Mom’s instructions on when to nap, when to bathe and when to eat. Routine makes life a lot easier for all of us.
• Keeping her by myself is not as hard as I thought it would be.
Some one asked me if I was exhausted the weekend I kept her. I said truthfully it wasn’t any more work than I usually do (we hit it pretty hard around here all the time).
Granddaddy is a huge help and the only hard part has been preparing meals three times a day.
Tommy and I can get by with a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a quick sandwich or cottage cheese for lunch and take-out or a thrown together dinner, but when everyone is here (and they come daily to visit the baby) “What’s for dinner?” are the first words out of their mouths.
I love to cook, but this schedule is testing me although it is a payoff to have everyone around.
• When they visit, they take over the whole house.
We have toys in the kitchen, a diaper changing station in the laundry room, two bedrooms full of “stuff” and objects scattered all over the lawn.
• Keeping her is a big responsibility.
I was not a over-worrier with my own children, but I am scared to death something bad will happen when she is in our care.
I turned my back for a couple of seconds the other day and she had climbed up to the sixth step. I was lucky to see her before she fell.
• Granddaddy Tommy is as good a grandfather as he is a husband.
He got up with her every morning, dressed her and let us sleep late. They both melt when she is being carried in his arms.
Often, when I think of the joy that she brings, I think about someone who has experienced the same and then lost their grandchild (or child).
I can’t imagine what I’d do in their shoes.
I like a cleaner house, but I’ve learned that mess doesn’t matter. Not one single bit.
In two days the house will be tidy, quiet and obstacle-proof.