Today I am transferring some hap-hazard notes from my iphone into this space. These notes are the pattern of a new period in my life known by many as grandmothering. It's a period that will be swifter and more forgiving than my parenting years.
I think of the 21st century world my grandchildren will grow up in. It is a world that is ever technical, ever extroverted, ever quickening, and ever demanding.
I want MayMay's house to be the hobbit-hole (Annie just came in and read this line and laughed at the image), the place set apart, the one filled with thoughtful adventures, lasting traditions, hopeful optimism, restful peace, and happy memories.
Tall order, some might say.
Your plans will not work out the way you predict, other might say.
But these same refrains were made when I brought home my first baby.
Refrains such as, "You cannot stay home and make it in today's world without two paychecks."
"Your children need social interaction that only daycare and school can provide."
"Your plans will not work out the way you predict."
True, some plans did not work out; but many more did.
Call me naïve, but I did not like what I saw outside my home twenty years ago. I like it even less today. That doesn't mean I can change it. But there is one place I can change. And God has placed me there to guard it and to bless it as only I am able.
Home has been the focus all my life. I see the value where others see the missing paycheck. I see the creative possibilities where others see the boredom. I see the hope where others see the failures. I chose a different road, a road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Others might scoff at my choice but I find peace in taking the road God planned for me.
Home, by definition, is:
I sought out like-mind friends and found a community rich with the same ideals and creative powers they willingly shared. Most of all, these families were fun and full-of-life. Other people began following that road less traveled and they have made a difference in my life and that of my family's.
I'm ready for this second life-phase and yet, knowing how quickly it will pass, I mean to start now (while my first grandbaby is a mere two months old), to embrace it and live it well...with purpose, with intent, with love, and, most of all, with faith.
I hear the naysayers loud and clear. Within my own family there have been divorces and grandchildren seen only on weekends, there has been hurt and pain, and expectations unfulfilled. Weekly I admire grandparents who have been forced to become parents once again. Some have been confidential on the hardships and demands of this new reality. Others have wept the trials of being denied knowing their grandchildren. Yet, whether my grandchildren live next door and I see them every day or I see them once a month or they move out-of-state and I only see them twice a year, I choose to do something small, however small, to make a difference---if to no one else---in the lives of my grandbabies. I choose to celebrate every moment they cross over my threshold.
I am not my grandchildren's parent and, personally, it's one of the things I find nicest in the land of MayMayhood. I don't have to make life-changing decisions and I don't have to be the bad-guy. I know how gnarly day-to-day life gets for parents. Parenting is stressful. I want my house to be a place set-apart, a moment remembered, an ideal realized, a sanctuary in the middle of a world gone mad.
Really my goal is very simple. I want to be the grandmother smiling at the door with a hot plate of homemade cookies inside. That's the ideal.
The reality, as far as the present moment, is that Hudson is asleep in his bassinet while I type. Every time an outside dog barks, the inside dog barks and I have to get up to quiet her. And I need to go tell Annie to stop her duct-tape art projects and do another lesson in math. Hudson's Parian is sitting next to me in my office reading Obama jokes off his phone and laughing out loud. (He's fixing to start a 4-night work shift tonight so all will be quiet once again. And I'll sure miss his daily visits.)
And there are no homemade cookies in the oven, but there is a half-eaten King Cake and leftover brownies on the kitchen counter.
This is my home in reality.
The ideal is one I keep closely in my heart and soul. My family doesn't often see the ideal because it is not something I share loosely on blog or paper. Some things cannot be put in words for fear the ideal is lost.
One day I'll be gone and I want, most of all, not precious words upon my tombstone but, rather, precious memories on the minds and hearts of the little ones God sends to our family's doorstep.
Thus, MayMay's Memories begin.