There is no guarantee that it will happen…but if you are fortunate enough, unlike any other reward in your life, being a nana is hands down the best of the best of the absolute best.
It happens to us at exactly the right time.
(This photo is the moment Savannah and I met Lilah.)
Growing old in our society, particularly for women is often regarded as something to hide, lie about, disguise as long as possible with all the lotions, potions and injections imaginable. When you are handed your ‘grand’ little bundle somehow the whole ageing thing takes on a new dynamic. For me, …gone were the thoughts that I must look a certain way or compare myself to younger women or even care – to a certain degree – what other’s think of me. Replaced is a love that is quite frankly the most unimaginable feeling I have ever had. All of a sudden my age has become my biggest asset.
When I was asked what I wanted to be called there was not a single hesitation. “Just call me Nana”! This was my new status and I was proud of it.
There is nothing like spending a day with a child to remind you not to take life so seriously. I was getting the girls ready for camp the other morning and was spraying them down with sunscreen. I was showing them how to ‘gently’ spray the lotion into the palm of your hand and dab it onto their faces. Lilah grabs the bottle fills her hand to the point of overflowing, and makes a big mess down the front of her shirt (that I have to wash nightly because you are expected to wear it every day of camp) and onto her legs until there is a perfect little white puddle of cream on the floor. “Lilah…why do you do things like that? So messy!” I groaned in frustration… she answers…”cause it’s fun nana”…and there is no arguing with wanting to have fun.
Being a nana is not something you have to take on or do….nope…you just be. There is no job description for this status, it is just something to embrace and let it all encompass you.
Being a nana allows me to give my undivided attention to my girls. One evening when the girls were having a bath Savannah asked “Nana, how come when we come to your house we are allowed to stay in the tub for as long as we want?” “Because your mother has a life” I said as I took another sip of my wine in. LOL…not that I don’t have a life…but that’s the great thing about Nana-hood, you know your time is limited so your entire life is put on hold the moment they walk through the front door, until the moment they leave. I did try to explain that their mom has to fit in tub time, make dinner, do the laundry, make lunches, do the chores all on top of a day’s work. A part of me feels sorry for her but then I think….been there done that. One day she will be a Nana…for now it’s MY time to play.
(I am actually under this pile of girls, I have become a permanent piece of climbing apparatus)
We are at the girls total disposal. Steve and I like to think we are in control…but in fact we are not….especially poor Steve… It’s actually quite hilarious when they ‘boss’ around their papa during play time. “Sit here with all the bears and don’t move” “pretend you are a mouse” or “I am the hairdresser and you come in for a hair-cut”..lol..this one usually scares him!! The funny thing is…he does it all…..because they told him to and as much as I love being Nana, Steve loves being Papa.
(I love this photo with my bed head and wrinkles…who cares when you get a genuine hug like this in the monring?)
I think one of the things the girls love the most is our alone time, the quiet moments when I just listen to them, their thoughts, fears, their make-believe stories with never an opinion nor a judgment. I hear all their secrets and they somehow know that I am the keeper of all of their secrets. There is a bit of an expectation that nana’s know everything too…they ask life questions that sometimes astonish me.
For those of you that know us, you know that Steve and I are really hands-on with our girls. We are blessed to have a daughter in law and a son that are so open to us having them pretty much when we want. This is not something that is taken advantage of either. There are no expectations placed upon us by my son nor Maxine and we are truly grateful for this.
I guess what prompted this post is that we had the girls stay with us for a week. Admittedly before they arrived I was a bit concerned that maybe I bit off more than I could chew. While the girls were here Steve had surgery. I wondered if I still had it in me to be a full-time parent. I cannot lie…I was a bit tired at the end. The girls are gone now and it is eerily quiet….but all in all I am quite proud of how organized I was.
When they come for weekends Lilah always asks for bacon and Savannah always asks for pancakes….and because I am a Nana, I do it. So on their week here Monday morning comes along and bacon and pancakes are made. Tuesday…same thing. Wednesday morning I had to pick up Steve from the hospital before the girls even got out of bed so frozen waffles it was….by Friday it was a bowl of cereal…seriously….at this point I’m thinking I am only one fricken Nana!!!
(Lilah – timeout nose and toes against the wall. I said one minute for every year you’ve been alive. Part way through she said “Nana, is my life over yet”?)
We had an action-packed week. Karate camp daily….(I never said I was a stupid nana)….from 9-5 they were gone!!! We have gone swimming, chalked body outlines on the road in front of the Corner House and watched cars run us over, fact finding missions, water fights with our new water guns, the girls played in the band at Uncle Dan’s party, raced our new RC boats at Spencer Smith park, girls got to sleep with Uncle Andrew….and get this…after all is said and done and you ask the girls…’what was the best part of your week?” they actually have the nerve to say “When Uncle Andrew came for a sleepover”. Seriously? Boy wonder comes over and chases you around the house for 20 minutes and HE is the hero? Come on!!!
One of the best things about being a nana is I know what’s important. I don’t really care whether the girls get into the Harvard of preschools — or the Harvard of Harvard, for that matter. Yes, I value education, but more than anything, I want the girls to be healthy and most of all happy. Gone are the expectations and agendas that you once had with your own children….
I celebrated my birthday when the girls were here for the week….Freedom 55. Savannah was quick to figure out I am halfway to 110! The girls set the table in the secret garden for my birthday dinner. They made birthday cards for me and were very excited to present me with a beautiful necklace that they helped papa pick out. The girls did a toast to me…Savvy’s was perfect – “I wish my nana a happy birthday, I love you”….melt your heart right?…. Then Lilah had a turn …”Happy birthday to Nana, my nana is my heart and my butterfly”…sigh…..
Steve asked me if I could ever do it again…be a full-time parent. As much as I loved the girls staying here for the week and all the “I love you’s” and the cuddles…. I am looking forward to putting the water guns away, ridding the cupboards of the junk food, not washing those damn camp shirts every night….and I am looking forward to celebrating my birthday weekend with Steve and my friends…so I guess the answer is no. I am sure I could if I had to…but I much prefer this role I was gifted….just call me Nana.
Lilah…”Could everyone be quiet, I am swearing to God”.
Child of my child, heart of my heart.
Your smile bridges the years between us…
I am young again, discovering the world through your eyes.
You have the time to listen and I have the time to spend,
Delighted to gaze at familiar, loved features made new in you again.
Through you, I see the future. Through me, you’ll see the past.
In the present, we’ll love one another as long as these moments last.
― Author Unknown
Nana after we burn you in a fire where do you want to go? (Cremation/ashes-she gets right to the point)
I think I would like to be in the Gulf of Mexico.
Nana, can I have some of you for myself?
Yes of course you can. What will you do with my ashes?
Ill save them until I go to heaven and then I will find you and give you some of mine.
pure and perfect love