Sunday, April 22, 2007

Confessions of a grandmother

I live across the street from an elementary school, which can be frustrating at 8:00 a.m. when the parents park across my driveway, stop in the middle of the street to let their children out, and do other foolish and inconsiderate things in their haste to get on with the day. But every year when notices go out about the annual carnival, I say a prayer of thanks that my elementary school carnival days are behind me. So what did I do this weekend? You guessed it--I went to second-grader Maddie's carnival with her, her younger sister, and her daddy.
Melanie, the girls mother, was in California on a girls getaway (much deserved), and Jamie needed someone to watch the girls while he did a sprint triathlon Saturday and again this morning while he biked and ran. So he came and got me, much to my delight. He told me in the car that Edie, the four-year-old, was very excited when she heard I was coming, but Maddie held back. When pressed, she said to her father, "It's kind of lame to walk about the carnival with your grandmother." I knew the day was coming, though maybe not so soon!
It was a good weekend--I went to Maddie's volleyball game (volleyball at that level is NOT an aerobic sport--lots of standing and waiting). We ate out all weekend (though I would have cooked)--Italian, barbecue, Mexican (I came home tonight and had cottage cheese and fresh raspberries for supper).
Saturday was the school carnival, from 3-7 p.m. I paled at the thought of four hours, but we didn't actually get there until 4:30 p.m. Jamie had said it was all outside--another reason for apprehension. I'm not good at hanging out in the sun, even when its only in the 80s. But we spent a good while inside--looking at silent auction gifts, watching while Jamie and Maddie did the cake walk, listening to a wildlife exhibit (really interesting--the speaker had a possum, a vulture,which he said should be the national bird, and a small alligator). Then we went to eat. When I declined anything, Jamie said, "You're no fun." So, in an effort to be fun, I ate a hot dog--and then wished I hadn't. About 6, we went outside to the games--and I opted to sit on a bench, with the book I'd surreptiously stuck in my purse. Two reasons: I don't like walking around on a field, standing while the girls do bouncy houses, etc., and besides, I wanted to spare Maddie the embarrassment. So I was quite content--I'm always content with a book.
Today, we had a lazy Jamie-style day. Just when Jamie got home from his run and ride, the girls were putting on a show for me--Edie dancing with her guitar like a rock star, and Maddie singing from the balcony above (she explained that way Edie would look forward at her and not sideways). I heard they were preparing another show--which delayed our grocery trip--but never saw it and soon they changed out of their costumes. Then we went to lunch and the grocery store (spent two hours there--it's a family tradition for them). We had hyper giggles, followed by the tears that always follow such high jinks--"she bit my finger" and "she stepped on my toe." They finally dropped me off at home at 5:15, and I was glad to be home but reluctant to let go of the weekend, of being with them.
Can I draw significant conclusions from all this trivia? No, except that grandmothering is like everything else--five parts joy to one part frustration. And how do I rate as a grandmother? Sometimes I'm fun, and sometimes I'm a drag. But that's me.
Balance has been a big part of my recent anxiety problem, but I'm glad to report that I walked much more self confidently this weekend, even over the rough and uneven ground between Jamie's house and the school, in the grocery parking lot, up and down curbs. I'm feeling so much better about the world.

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