October 27, 2008 by Judith Liebaert
Okay, it’s true that I was a child bride and I chose to start a family as soon as I became a Mrs. When my oldest daughter was married at the same age that I wed her father, and then she gave birth to my first grandchild before I was forty, being a grandmother was a novelty. Nobody believed me. They all insisted I looked too young to be a grandmother. Let’s face it, I was too young.
Now, my fourth grandchild is on the way and nobody bats an eye when I say that. The novelty has worn off and there is no more basking in the notion of being too young. I am a grandmother.
I accompanied my middle daughter on her recent visit to the baby doctor. I wanted to be there for the first listen-in on the heartbeat. My daughter wanted me there to corral her soon to be two-year-old son.
There is not a button, knob or switch that my grandson doesn’t have to push, turn or flip. He knows that doing so makes things happen. Lights turn on, radios blare, garage doors open magically. When the nurse rolled in the ultrasound machine, being restrained from all of those buttons and switches was just too much for him to handle.
I dragged him down the long hallway back to the reception area, screaming all the way – him, not me. Even if I’d wanted to scream (which I didn’t because a grandmother doesn’t give a hoot in Hades if a whole reception room full of patients think her grandchild is a brat), I didn’t have the energy. The kid had already worn me out and we’d barely begun the day.
There is something wrong with this picture. There was a time when I was the mother with one child in tow and another on the way. My own mother and I would pack up the stroller, put the babe in her car seat, go to my doctor’s appointment and then spend the rest of the day shopping, lunching and just having a ball. My mother kept up every bit of the way. Even more astounding, she was almost 20 years older than I am now!
Maybe it’s this whole menopause thing that’s sapping my energy. I was the baby of the family and unlike me, Mom was no child bride. By the time I came along her menopause wasn’t far behind. Thinking back, she often commented on how tired she was raising me. I wish she was here so I could ask her if she had a renewed burst of energy when she hit sixty.
I’m hoping that’s the answer because at eighty-five, mom was still working half a day in her garden – and complaining that she tired so easily. I’m lucky to hold up for an hour of weed pulling, flower planting and fertilizing before I call it quits. At this rate, if I make it past seventy, let alone eighty, I can only imagine I’ll be little more than a fat-cat napping in the sun all day.
Still, judging from the two felines in residence at my house (better known as the furry couch-doilies) that might just be the fat cat’s meow.
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