Grandparenting in 2010 across the globe
As I sit here in the white painted wicker chair I feel as though I'm in the pages of Gone with the Wind. The large verandah overlooking the tree covered rambling two acre back yard is kept cool by a huge ceiling fan struggling to push away the air heavy with humidity as the temperature rises towards 100 degrees. Even the squirrels are hiding in the shade!
I've flown to Georgia in the USA to spend time with my American family.
But wake up - I'm not waiting for Rhett Butler to turn up, I'm the visiting grandmother entertaining two preschoolers and helping with a new baby. A lot less romantic than the famous Southern novel.
Neighbours pop in with baby gifts and sometimes with a home cooked meal.... Neighbours all over the world rally to help new mothers; thank heaven for friends everywhere. These things don't change.
Other things have changed though - the toys are 21st century and mostly take batteries - not just one or two but four or more! Electric drills and weed eaters that whirr - dolls that cry and survive being thrown around, train sets that need a parent with a degree in engineering to set up the tracks! And children everywhere have so many toys, yet the simple things still keep them amused for hours. The latest craze is 'Silly bands' - coloured rubber bands shaped like a princess or a fairy wand in pink and blue or for boys dinosaur shaped bands that are worn in multiples at school and kindergarten, a real craze currently. Some manufacturer is making a killing at US $3.00 a bag - enterprising they call it!
Drink bottles that never leak are my favorite recent discovery. However with this newest baby come diapers that tell you when they are wet! What next? Self changing diapers...? I guess not. And babies still need feeding two hourly in those first few weeks. So grandmothers are still irreplaceable despite all the advantages of modern science.
The rewards for being grandmother are numerous; you get baby puke on your
best clothes, poopy diapers to change, temper tantrums to settle and the words "I want Mommy" often .… But then you get small people climbing into bed at 7am for a story and cuddles, you get cuddles when they are in trouble or hurt, cuddles at bedtime, and more cuddles just because you are a 'special 'grandmother'. Then after you leave they talk to you on Skype and blow kisses at the computer when you are not visiting them. Who would miss being a grandparent by choice - certainly not me .
And those ceiling fans in a Georgia summer are my favorite thing after small people.