By Frances Garner
Until I became a grandmother, my life must have been void, although it was running at full speed with a daughter graduating from high school, a full-time job, a self-employed spouse, a house to run, and numerous other activities.
Where would a find time for a grandchild?
How could I fit the mold of a doting grandmother with the “grandmother books,” all the “oohs and ahs” tales of the grands whose every gurgle was a complete sentence and the first tooth was an earth shaking event?
Actually to me, it was all rather silly, aside from the fact, that I was not ready at age forty to become a boastful grandmother.
The entire picture was frightening; however, it did no place the forthcoming event on hold.
Jeremy came via the stork on a beautiful Sunday morning, which happened to be Mother’s Day.
His arrival came following and exhaustive night of two families keeping vigil as if someone was departing rather than arriving.
After the usual statistical analysis, weight, height, footprints, and the repetitive question, “Who does it favor?” things began to settle down.
As fate would have it, during the next few days, the mother developed serious complications requiring and extended hospital stay but the baby was allowed to go home with one of the grandmothers, which just happened to be a number one inexperienced grandmother.
Needless to say, this job took top priority and this little boy won my heart in a matter of minutes, although he cried almost constantly, and continues to hold me in the palm of his hand.
Jeremy is now 21 years of age, a college student, but unashamedly hugs his grandmother, gives her a teasing poke in the ribs, and never fails to ask, “Are you cooking this Sunday?”
He is also my handyman, gardener, encourager, and critic who is forever reminding me that my arms are getting flabby and I need to exercise.
In return, I type his school papers, patch his jeans, and clean up the mud tracked from his latest four wheeler mud ride.
Jeremy is definitely an outdoors person and is majoring in forestry in college.
Matthew came five years behind Jeremy and by that time I was a seasoned grandmother.
Since his birth was by caesarian, we were able to have mother and baby in our home for a week and those big brown eyes won us immediately, so much so, that even granddaddy cried when they had to leave.
Matthew was and still is, shy but very reserved.
Upon getting his first small pocket knife, after much pleading, he was given explicit instruction not to take it out of his pocket.
It was not until his mother found blood in his dinner chair and all of the floor that they began to seek out a pale Matthew to find that he had a cut finger and had been bleeding for some time even before he hid it under his chair at dinner.
Rather that disappoint his dad with admitting his disobedience, he was willing to bleed to death.
Having a farmer for a dad, Matthew is also an outdoors person, enjoying operating the tractor (in spite of his mother’s discouragement), four wheeling even after failing to jump a ditch and knock out a tooth, hunting and fishing.
Jeremy and Matthew teamed up to give me a nice surprise after I had been visiting my ailing sister in another state for several days.
When I returned home, the overgrown yard that I had been dreading, was neatly cut, trimmed and watered. They had taken their holiday to this for me.
Attempting to pay them was quickly brushed aside with, “ah, Nannie you don’t owe us “nothing,” and “get outta here with that.”
Justin was a very pleasant child, not demanding much attention, sitting in his crib or playpen for hours amusing himself.
Of all the grandchildren, he is the most affectionate. You don’t have to ask for a hug. Unlike the other boys, he prefers indoors unless he in participating in sports.
Nintendo, movies, and card games tend to make him completely happy inside and quite lazy if asked to interrupt either of these with a chore. Since he lives in another state, I see him mostly on holidays and summer vacation.
He always insists that all the grandchildren spend a few nights with me when he comes and they enjoy playing tricks on me.
On one such occasion, we had planned an early morning fishing trip and got the bait a day in advance.
Being the first one up the next morning, I walked into the kitchen and den to find wigglers crawling all over my floor the box just happened to be placed on the fireplace where they could get out.
After being wakened by my screams, there was some explaining to do. Needless to say, we still went fishing.
Christy, the only girl in a cloud of boys, not wanting to be a boy, but very much wanting acceptance, has a hard time.
The boys don’t like her to go fishing with them because she is usually the first one to catch a fish and usually has the biggest catch.
She is also good with softball and the other sports they allow her in, much to their displeasure.
Christy is very good with her hands, plays the piano, makes crafts to enter in the county fair, likes to cook, and is a perfectionist in what she does.
Like most teenagers, she is very fashion conscious and would not think of wearing a Tommie Hilfiger shirt with a pair of Nike socks.
Unlike most teenage age girls, she refuses to enter any pageant or contest where you are judged on beauty, among other things, although she beautiful and talented.
Since she is the only girl among five boys, it is my duty to look out for her. Her mother’s claim that she has me wrapped around her finger is simply not true.
Andrew filled the gap after 10 years of no babies, so naturally he is a spoiled brat, managing to disrupt Sunday dinner and completely destroy the patience of the older grandchildren.
Their cry is, “We did not get away with that,” and “I know, I did not act like that. You would have killed me.”
Andrew only seems to be happy when someone (preferably his daddy) is pitching him a baseball, kicking a football, or throwing a ball into the net.
To put it mildly, he is a ball fanatic and the only time he will sit still is on the bleacher of a stadium. On rare occasions, he can be nice.
Recently, the family went out to dinner with another couple and he was cautioned to mind his manners.
After passing up most of his lunch, he helped himself to a stack of warm chocolate chip cookies from Ryan’s dessert bar.
Noticing the chocolate around his mouth, his mother asked him politely to wipe the chocolate from his mouth.
His response was, “but why, I have four more cookies to eat?” At four years of age he is definitely too smart.
Little Trey is only two months old and the brother of Andrew so we all pray for him. My grandmother instinct tells me, he is going to be very special and we are already bonded.
Trey was born with a soft esophagus which collapsed during normal feedings. He came home after three weeks from Children’s Hospital where surgery was performed and a feeding tube placed in his stomach.
Coming home to Andrew’s domain made for a big adjustment in a household of working parents and an overactive four year old.
So grandmother, who is now retired, spends one day a week with Trey and additional time when possible. I think he knows me already. Yesterday, he gave the biggest smile of all.
All six are different, wonderful, and special. Who said I was not ready to be a grandmother?
*Blessings do not cease-Samuel Webster and James Isaac Lowery, sweet boy of grandson, Jeremy and April Doss Lowery, not great grandsons!