A funny thing has happened to my daughter’s children. It would appear that they’ve fallen in love with their great-grandparents. The older I get, the more I realize how unique it is that these kids should even know their great-grandparents, let alone have more than a passing interest in them. At the same time, my heart breaks with those who have lost their own parents, and I feel a certain amount of guilt that I still have both of mine.
I was acquainted with two of my great-grandmothers. They were both nice women whom I saw occasionally, but that’s it. I only recall them as onlookers at the edge of family events, and I seldom spoke to them directly, unless prompted. It would never have occurred to me to snuggle up beside them on the sofa, nor would I have wanted to spend time with them on my own, without my parents around. That’s why I’m both surprised and delighted by the fact that my grandchildren love to see my parents — their great-grandparents — whom they call Grandpa and Grandma. (We’re Pop and Nan.)
Maggie, the oldest, is six now, and ever since Christmas she’s been bugging Grandma to let her come and sleep over. My mom was a little reluctant at first, thinking that the novelty of spending the night would wear off around bedtime, but Maggie persisted. Finally, her reverse-invitation was accepted and a few days ago Maggie’s parents took her to Grandma and Grandpa’s condo to spend the night.
When bedtime came, Maggie was offered a choice of sleeping spots; the spare bedroom, far from Grandma and Grandpa’s room, the big, padded window seat in the livingroom,
or the couch in the sunroom, right beside Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom. It was a tough choice, but Maggie decided she would sleep on the couch near them. My perceptive father, who didn’t raise five girls without learning a thing or two, offered to sleep in the spare room “just in case” Maggie might need to climb into bed with Grandma.
Sure enough, once Grandpa was tucked into his own bed, Maggie decided to do just that, and she laughed and chatted with Grandma, carrying on as though she was having a sleepover with one of her own friends. My mother couldn’t believe that a little girl would appear to be having so much fun with an old lady, but she revelled in every moment.
Maggie’s usual bedtime was long past when Grandma finally decided it was time for her to settle down, so she reached across the king-size bed, took her little hand, and held it until she was fast asleep.
Am I envious? A little. I wish I would have had that experience when I was Maggie’s age.
Am I happy? Yes, I’m thrilled, and I wish I had a picture of those hands: great-grandma reaching not just across the big bed, but across the generations, to hold her great-granddaughter tight.