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Unexpected joys of growing oldPosted Monday, August 22, 2011, at 6:38 PM
Yep, darn fool thing for Grandma to do! Do I look as if I'm having fun?
When I was 27, I remember being horribly depressed for weeks, because I was going to be 30 in three years. What a useless occupation it is to worry over something so inevitable as age! I haven't worried about age milestones since that time. Now, I just enjoy each age more than the one before.
There is no sense in regretting that we started our family so late in life. That's something that you just can't always control. At the point when I was worrying over turning 30, I didn't know that I would have my first child at 32, the second one at 37, and the last one at 40.
As usual, family members worried over each pregnancy, but they turned out fine. God knew what he was doing, bringing my daughter so late in my life. He knew I would need her with me in the hard times after her father died. Things seem to work out for the best.
However, little did I dream about the joy of grandchildren. Yes, yes--I had seen grandparents doting on the wee ones, but it still came as a revelation when those small bundles of joy arrived.
Then--low and behold--they began to walk and talk and laugh and call me, "MiMi"! They put their small hands in mine and let me lead them across the street. They climbed on my lap, so I could read them stories! Oh, it's heart-melt time, for sure!
Now trips to Cracker Barrel must include a stop to look at the cute little frilly summer dresses and the clever mechanical toys. I stop at the mall to watch a young salesman fly a clever little remote-control helicopter that I purchase for my 7-year-old Minneapolis grandson. Life has become unexpectedly exciting.
Last week, my best friend JD and I took care of my 5-year-old grandson Evan all day, while Mommy had to get her room ready for teaching and Daddy had to work. Evan's kindergarten didn't start until Thursday, so MiMi and JD took the car seat and the boy with us on a routine day.
This eventful day included a trip to the eye doctor for MiMi and playing on the waiting room floor for Evan. It ended with Evan's very first soccer practice, which was a revelation in itself... I chased his 2-year-old sister Sophie around the soccer field, while a brave adult about my age tried to teach the 5-year-olds how to play their positions. I really don't know which of us had the more difficult job--but I suspect he did. One little boy cried when he was told not to pick up the ball with his hands. Evan wore a seriously long orange shirt that kept growing until it reached his ankles...
Meanwhile, in MiMi's territory, little Sophie was dancing toward an enormous play station with mile-long slides, some of which wound down from the top like snakes. We had to climb steps, walk across a bridge, and then sit down on the floor to fit through openings and slide down at breakneck speeds to the ground below. I limited my enjoyment to three trips down the slides...despite her winsome chant of, "MiMi! Slide? Slide?" The next day, my bones and joints ached in places I never knew existed.
I have no doubt that my trip down the slide on the playground would have been a lot easier if my grandchildren could have been born ten years earlier in my life, but I seriously doubt that I could have enjoyed them any more.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at email@example.com.