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On Being a Grandmother

May 20, 2012

Mom's First Four ChildrenBy the time my mother was my age, she had seven grandchildren (mind you, she started her own family when she was 24 and had her first two children only 2½ years apart; she waited another seven and nine years before having my sister and I [and it was another five years until my youngest brother was born], whereas I was several years older than Mom was when my first son was born, and number two arrived five years later).  At the time of her death, Mom had 12 grandchildren (enough, my father used to say, to field a baseball team), and nine great-grandchildren.  I, as yet, have no ‘grands’.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not particularly eager for my boys (who are 31 and 26 this year) to produce progeny.  While they both have lovely (long term) girlfriends, they are still getting settled into their careers (or trying to find the right ‘fit’) and deciding where and how they want to live (rent? buy? apartment? condo? townhouse? house? city? suburbs?)  Besides, I really don’t feel ‘old enough’ to be a grandmother.  I have friends – some even younger than I am – who have grandchildren and who claim that they’re happy they were ‘blessed’ while they were still young enough to enjoy the grandkids, take them to places like Disney World, etc.  But I think I can wait – at least until I hit the bit ‘6-0’, anyway.

WilburThat’s not to say that I’m not getting a taste of what being a grandmother might be like, however.  Earlier this week, son #1 and his girlfriend dropped off their two cats (Wilbur and Charlotte) for a ten-day stay at ‘Grammy’s house’ while they head out west to attend a friend’s wedding.  Since my house has been ‘feline-free’ for three months (Sally passed away in February), I was eager to have a couple of young cats for company (and to help me decide if I’m ready to get another one – or two – of my own).  I’m also using the experience as a kind of ‘trial run’ for being a ‘real’ grandmother someday (assuming, of course, that one or both of the boys ever actually decides to grace me with a grandchild or two).

CharlotteWilbur and Charlotte are approximately 1½ years old and are brother and sister (i.e, from the same litter).  Wilbur is long and black and sleek; Charlotte is a more compact tortoiseshell.  Wilbur immediately made himself at home (having two floors of an entire house to explore – vs. the kids’ upper-level-of-a-house apartment – gave him plenty to see and do); Charlotte hunkered down under the couch in the basement family room for a few hours.  However, they were both waiting for breakfast at 8:00 a.m. the next morning, and have since figured out the best places to sleep, play, and hide, and that ‘Grammy’ is always up for a cuddle (especially when loud, contented purring is part of the package).  They’ve settled in quite nicely and are adjusting to the different noises and activities of the household (Wilbur has learned, for example, that it’s easy to get attention if you sit in front of the computer monitor while ‘Grammy’ is trying to type; Charlotte has figured out that I generally read in bed while I have my tea in the morning, so that’s a good time to get some ‘alone time’ with ‘Grammy’).  They’ve also discovered that I’m something of a soft touch when head-bumped for attention, and that I’m not averse to lavishing attention on them by sitting on the living room floor with a cat on either side.  

I was given instructions on how much food to give them (and what ‘treats’ are acceptable – they’ve already had a little tuna, some bacon, and shrimp tails on different nights), and advised about their habits (both good and bad), but it’s been a learning process for all of us (for one thing, I have never had cats who ‘walk and talk’ in the middle of the night [I think it’s Wilbur making most of the noise, but where he goes, Charlotte generally follows], and I’m learning to watch where I’m walking because one or the other tends to want to get between my feet when I’ve got my hands full).  Still, so far, it’s been fun.

Mom With My BoysI must admit to ‘spoiling’ them just a little (in addition to the afore-mentioned ‘people food’, I’ve snuck them a few ‘extra’ cat treats before dinner, and I picked up some new cat toys at the dollar store when I was out) and I have a sneaking suspicion that when (if?) I ever have ‘real’ grandchildren, I’ll go overboard with such things (as my own mother did with her gaggle of one-generation-removed children – I know I certainly never got to stay in my pajamas until noon on Saturday, or eat strawberries and ice cream for breakfast when I was growing up).  But that’s the nature of grandparenting, I suppose (you get to spoil them, then send them home!) 

I have another week with the ‘grandcats’, and I know I’m going to miss them terribly when they go home.  But I’m starting to think that maybe someday I’d like to have a couple of grandchildren that would come and visit with me (and that I could spoil), now that I’m on … the other side of 55.

Grandchildren Quote

  1. Colleen permalink
    May 22, 2012 8:48 am

    Margo, that has to be your Mom and the kids in the photo? I can really see you in her!


    • May 22, 2012 8:53 am

      Yes, that is Mom with me on her lap (the baby). I’ve been told many, many times that we look very much alike!



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