I’m getting too old for this stuff . . .
This weekend the wife and I are babysitting our 14-month old granddaughter as her mother and father attend a wedding in the big city. It was with great exuberance that the wife and I volunteered to take on this duty . . . we wanted to watch her. We wanted to watch her in all of her non-ending youthfulness, non-ending energy, constantly walking, constantly wandering away, constantly getting into stuff . . . never wanting to take a nap . . . never wanting to go to sleep . . . and, constantly wanting to be noticed; yeah, we wanted to watch her . . . and, after one day we are wondering what we were thinking!! We are getting too old for this stuff and she isn’t even a teenager yet!!
Now, don’t get me wrong . . . my granddaughter is the coolest and best thing that has ever happened. I miss the punk when I don’t get to see her at least once a week . . . which probably prompted the wife and I into volunteering to watch the kiddo this weekend. The kids moved to another big city in Montana a couple of hours away a few weeks ago. I had not seen the kid since they moved . . . I was having granddaughter withdrawal. So we volunteered . . . and, the adventure began.
The day began bright and early as we all heading off to the mountains to do a little “moosing”. Moosing, for those of you who do not know what I am referring to, is cruising the back roads looking for moose. To properly do “moosing” one has to get up very, very early . . . on the road by 6:00AM. Without a complaint or even a whimper, the granddaughter joined us adults for a early morning of moose hunting. She was a real trooper even though she was stuck in her car seat for a couple of hours . . . the reward was that we saw seven moose. We saw three sets of momma moose and their children, and we saw one bull moose. Unfortunately, at 14-months of age, the granddaughter will never remember any of it!
After a couple of hours of moosing, we headed to breakfast at one of the wife’s favorite eating establishment. There the granddaughter was a blast. Grabbing everything and anything . . . babbling away . . . flirting with people at other tables . . . and, demanding to taste everything that was on the table. Constant energy . . . constant motion . . . and, constant noise. I loved it!! Who doesn’t like being with the cutest person in the room?
From there we decided to do a little walking around town . . . do a little shopping . . . after all, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, and daughter and wife seemed to think there was a need to do a little shopping. Fourteen month olds really don’t care much for shopping. Fourteen month olds want to explore . . . search and destroy . . . go on what they think are Indian Jone’s adventure worthy of the silver screen. The granddaughter was up to the task . . . we walked around countless stores . . . we tested the limits of a lot of store owners . . . tested the limits of Grandpa. The punk must have walked a couple of miles! The rest, Grandpa carried her. Needless to say, even though she is quite petite, Grandpa got tired.
We walked the streets . . . we petted dogs . . . we looked in windows . . . sat on park benches . . . wandered the aisles of every store within a hundred miles . . . danced. Yeah, I said, dance. This granddaughter likes to dance . . . she likes to boogey. Doesn’t matter the music, when the spirit hits her to dance, she dances. Of course my dancing is not much better than my singing . . . but, being a grandparent cuts a person a little slack . . . people expect grandparents to act like idiots. I need a granddaughter thirty years ago!!
Again, I was tired. She wore me out . . . she wore her parents out. But, they were lucky as they were heading out and going to a wedding rehearsal. A tear entered my eye as they pulled away from the house . . . what had we gotten ourselves into!! A 14-month old and a nearly elderly couple . . . someone was going to lose in the end.
From the time that our granddaughter’s parents left she was a constant blur of activity. She was a ball of energy . . . constantly moving energy. Her grandparents, unfortunately, were not . . . we were more like the immovable blobs that wanted to sit on the couch and reminiscence about the good old days when we just sat there and held our granddaughter. It was low energy, low impact.
I do want you to know, there were chinks in the granddaughter’s armor. She did start to get tired . . . which meant she got grumpy . . . but we were under strict orders to not let her sleep until her bedtime at seven o’clock. That was nearly four hours away when the parents left . . . the wife didn’t make it. She crashed in her recliner for a “ten-minute” nap that lasted nearly an hour . . . much to my horror! I did a whole lot of walking around the yard and house with the granddaughter . . . we picked grandma’s flowers . . . walked up and down steps . . . danced in front of the bedroom mirrors . . . ate a lot of Cheerios . . . and, basically wore Grandpa out. It was then that Grandpa decided that he was getting too old for this stuff.
Yet, we survived. The granddaughter has now been asleep for over two hours . . . sawing logs. Grandma has already hit the sack. Grandpa is drinking beer, writing a blog, and wondering how in the world he is ever going to survive tomorrow when Grandma goes grocery shopping for a few hours, leaving him alone with the granddaughter. He is not sure, but . . . he will survive. He always survives to see his granddaughter another day.
At the end of a day with the granddaughter there is exhaustion. Yeah, this exhaustion manifests itself physically in my body, but it is a “good” sort of exhaustion. I love my granddaughter. I love her 14-month old sense of adventure and wonder. I love her goofiness. I love her dancing. I love her babbling. I love holding her in my arms as she clings to hang on. I love her “honking” my nose. I love her sharing her food with the dogs. I love her constant motion. I love her laughter . . . and, I even love her tears. She is a hoot . . . the best hoot I ever get. She reminds me what it means to live life to its fullest . . . because she does each and every moment she is awake. Yeah, it is exhausting, but it is a good exhaustion no matter what age one might be . . . it is life lived with joy.
My granddaughter is a blessing. I thank God each and every day for this blessing. I am not too old, she is too young . . . but the blessings are numerous . . . too numerous to count. She makes me smile . . . she makes me laugh . . . she makes me sing . . . she makes me dance, but most of all she makes me feel loved. No matter how old I get, I will never get enough of that sort of stuff.