Thursday, April 23, 2015

How's your energy level, Grandma?

This is a post for my colleagues--those beleaguered grandparents across the nation. Yesterday afternoon, eight-year-old Jacob and his classmates finished two days of the SPAAR tests. Jordan left work early to get them at school and bring five little boys here for treats. You could almost reach out and touch the energy in that room as they ate, drank bottled water, joked, screamed, laughed. Jacob got so excited he choked on who knows what. Jordan took it all in stride, laughing with them, joking, encouraging them to remember manners. There were all good boys--I've known them for four years now or most of them, and they're generally polite and well behaved. But they were on an energy high.
I stood in the doorway and watched them, admiring my daughter's patience. Okay, I raised four children, all close in age--been there, done that. But now, I don't know I have the energy or patience for it. Jordan loaded them all into her car and took them to Central Market where there's a wonderful playground, and the moms can sit and order wine. She reported they had a blast. I took a nap after they left, before I went out to dinner.
The night before I took Jacob to a happy hour. The group that regularly dines at the Old Neighborhood Grill had been invited to one couple's new condo for wine before dinner. It just so happens that Jacob really really likes the guy with the new condo, so he was excited about going, cancelled baseball for himself, and brought his favorite new shirt to wear. He was charming during the happy hour and afterward at the Grill--talkative but not too much, fairly informed on what he was talking about--school testing, etc. Quiet, well-behaved, the perfect gentleman.
I on the other hand was out of sorts--long story--but when we got home, all of Jacob's pent-up energy burst loose. He sang, he shouted, he danced, all while he was supposed to be doing a bit of homework and getting ready for bed early. His joy was not a good combination with my irritability--I didn't have the energy for patience. But we got it together, and he went to bed at nine. Earlier than I can ever get him down. Then at 9:20 he was back--the neighbors' party was keeping him awake. So he danced around, doing silly imitations of the people at the party. By then, he made me laugh. Finally both the party and the child quieted down, and when I went to bed he was sound asleep.
This afternoon I mentioned to Jordan that I was tired--I had been to physical therapy, which tires not only your muscles but your brain and emotions as it challenges you to ever more difficult tasks. That was close to an hour and a half. Then I did a huge grocery shopping--we had apparently run out of every cleaning product we use--and I hauled it all in and unpacked it. And you know what my daughter said when I mentioned I was tired? "We have to work on getting your energy level up."
So, come on grandparents, speak up! How's your energy with grandkids under ten? Not what it was forty years ago when you were raising their parents? I'm sort of proud at my energy level at my age, and I took offense. I think I'm doing pretty darn good. How about you?

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