I must confess that, until I had children myself and my parents became grandparents, I didn’t really fully grasp and get the concept of what a grandparent’s role is. My grandparents and great-grandmother were not the type to play or joke around with the kids. Although, my maternal grandmother did let us style her hair like one of the Beatles. And it is from her that I have my love of driving on country roads and enjoying the scenery.
It was watching my parents getting on the floor and playing with my kids and having fun that made me realize that, when the time came, this whole grandparent gig could be a blast. And now, over 30 years later, I have discovered that being a grandparent is da bomb!
If you are looking for the fountain of youth – look to your grandkids, because they have the ability to keep you forever young – mentally, that is – physically is a little different! Steve and I have learned that to even attempt to keep up with our four grandkids requires vitamins and some Alieve. I now take mine before we embark on our adventures, ensuring time for it to kick it and get me through the day!
Steve is the rough and tumble Pap – he lets the kids climb and jump on him. He swings them in the air and carries them for miles. I am the imaginative grandparent. We engage in vivid roleplaying – just the other day, I was the troll who lived under the bridge and was trying to “eat” the grandkids if they dared to emerge from the dirt pit. At one point in our game, my oldest granddaughter told me, “The dirt pit is for young kids – and my Mommy and Daddy, they are also young. You are not young, so you can’t get in here.” Oh girl, challenge accepted, it was on like Donkey Kong! Let me tell you, Gaga DID get in that dirt pit! (It was just a little hard to get back out of it!”
Last month I found myself on the zip line and obstacle course with Mackenna. Now, before you all get excited and think, “Wowzers! You go, Gaga!”, I probably should confess that I was on the KIDS zip line and obstacle course. But, as I have an incredible fear of heights, I was pretty impressed with myself for accomplishing this feat. So yeah, out of shape Gaga, tackled this course, complete with my grandma crossbody purse slung over my body (hey, I had to tote my 2 cameras, cellphone and snacks with me). Mackenna, sensing my fear, went first on every obstacle and then cheered me across the wires and down the lines.
Last week, I took my two youngest grandkids up to spend some time with my parents. I glanced down and saw my almost 82 year old Mom on the floor, actively playing with her great-granddaughter. My 82 year old Dad was engaged in a battle of rubber sling bunnies with his great-grandson. And it dawned on me that it really is true – grandkids will keep you forever young – if you only open up your heart, mind and soul.