Saturday, October 09, 2010


Mr. Ryan: Will you stay with me in the dark, Gram?
Me: Sure, I'll stay for a few minutes while you fall asleep.
Mr. Ryan: Okay, let's talk.
Me: Okay, what shall we talk about?
Mr. Ryan: Oh! You decide, Gram.
Me: Okay, let's talk about what we'll do tomorrow.
Mr. Ryan: That's good.
Me: I could make pancakes for breakfast.
Mr. Ryan: That's not playing.
Me: Oh, we should talk about what we'll play.
Mr. Ryan: Yes, Gram, that's good to talk about.
These days I did not expect to have children front and center in my life. I have loved my daughter Jessica for thirty plus years now, and then, now, and always I would die for her, no questions asked.
I have two grandchildren, Mr. Ryan, age 3, and Drew (Drewbie), age 19 months. I also have children clients: ages 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 14, 17, & 18.
I like kids, always have, but I did not expect to ENJOY them so much. I am sitting on the floor, moving blocks and wooden circles around, looking for hidden pictures, coloring Thomas and Henry (trains) and I am sure I am a grown up kids like to be with.
For one thing, I have genuine respect. And I listen. And I don't mind being silly.
So today JB and I picked up Mr. Ryan and little Mr. Drew and we headed for the Ashfield Fair.

It is fall in New England and where I live is quite beautiful this time of year. Slightly north of me there are about ten small towns called the 'hilltowns', and each has its own autumn fair. Ashfield is the best.

We ate cupcakes, sat in a firetruck, an ambulance, and one some-kind-of fire motorcycle, painted pumpkins, found a giant green balloon, used the port-o-potty, ran in a field, found mushrooms that looked like poo, visited chickens and goats, ate pasta and salad and cookies, stacked blocks, cleverly conquered one puzzle twice, watched Scooby Do, brushed teeth, & snuggled in pajamas.
These boys run to JB and me when they see us. They love being at our house. They have their own books in the lowest bookshelf in the living room and they have their own flashlights and keys and locks and stackable boxes and wiry thing-a-ma-gings.
We live almost two hours apart. That means I am not a Grandmother who can quickly slide into help mode when there are late nights at work or run of the mill colds and fevers. I try hard to juggle and prioritize so I am there for Jess and Mike and Ryan and Drew when needed, but I am not a Grandmother whose second career is caring for her grandchildren.
But. I am a good Grandmother, and I am good with children. I've found it's so easy to love children, to learn from them, to want to show them the wonders of the world, to be willing to giggle at the best and the right times.
Right now they are sleeping like angels.
I just love that.


  1. 2 hours is not so far, close enough to be a good grandmother. These boys are wonderful and smart and lucky ducks to have you as their grandma. Of course you are a lucky duck to have them too :-).xoxo

  2. its funny, i really get you about this.
    my three kids...well, this year, we have just all moved into a whole new level. we all get each other, we all make each other better, we are all exploring life and sharing our experiences and i REALLY REALLY love it. everyone either wants my kids or they want their kids to be more like mine. i used to think they were who they are because, well, thats just who they are. but i do see now, that who i am has helped shaped who they can be, their potential. and i, the same as you, RESPECT them and their individuality, i encourage it, applaud it.
    you are like that x100 and you rock the world of so many kids and I LOVE THAT YOU DO THAT.
    you are a bandaid to the soul of troubled kids.

  3. I don't think I could take care of grandchildren full-time - one round of kids is enough. But I could do it the way you do, getting to spend time with them when really needed or when I wanted a fix.

    Sleeping like angels is the best part, though, I agree.

  4. thank you annie, you are so sweet to say this. i love them both madly.

    ah michelle, crush of my life! i KNOW what you are giving your children, and i know you will never regret a moment of it. it boomerangs back, doesn't it? (email to come, i hope soon)♥

    cs, i couldn't do it fulltime either. jess tells me i'm the only Mother among her friends who doesn't care for her grandchildren full time. i don't get that, really. i know there are times when jess and mike want and need me, but i also think they respect what i do and why. still, i admit we sometimes think about moving closer....xo

  5. There is a kid in everybody. the more we grow older, the more we understand the kid. It's always better to be childlike, if not childish.

    Photos are lovely. Next week i will also 'homeward bound'. Though i don't have son and daughter but a mother.

  6. That's a nice photo montage of the day.

    They're the cutest boys, really.
    Sometimes I get sad that I wasn't able to have kids. Other days I'm just fine with it.
    One on one I'm really good with children but I get overwhelmed with too many of them (2 0r more!) or if they're not perfectly behaved. I guess it's a good thing I didn't have any :P
    Then on the other hand, if I had children of my own I would be more patient I guess.

    I'm glad you, JB and the boys have each other. And I'm glad you have so many children in your life because you're good for them ;)


  7. Such beautiful pictures kj - they are so adorable!! I am sure you are a good grandmother :) I'd love to be a little one in the back seat of an adventure on a fall afternoon with you and JB!! It's the balance of having the playful child spirit alive and well within you, with the ability to create a nurturing safe space to BE that you seem to have down pat. Enjoy those pancakes, and whatever other play you might have in store!
    xoxox K

  8. You and JB are the very best grandmas any kid could ask for. They love you both buckets-full, of that I am very sure. It's not how far away you live, it's how invested you are. They know that. They RUN to see you. The proof is in the pudding (what in the heck does that even MEAN?). As for sleeping babies and children? It's simply angelic and I miss it. Happy Sunday!! xox Pam

  9. KJ - you are JB are SUPER Grams! Having seen you both "in action" last week....(gosh, was it already a week since "YART")- I know how much Messrs. Ryan and "Drewbie" love you! Their faces light up as soon as they see you.

    I feel that the time you spend with "da Boys" IS QUALITY Time over Quantity time....and in the end, as in all important matters, that it what counts! You can see the joy in their faces from these photos.... you and JB offer them wonderful glimpses of what the world has to offer....and you don't talk "down" to treat them like peers.... and kids know and respond to this!

    Great, great shots! Thanhk you for taking us along on the ride!



    ♥ Robin ♥

  10. wonderful sweet pictures of these little guys. you are the best gram for sure. so special this time when they love coming to visit and playing w/ you. I know lots of grams who are not involved on a daily basis w/their grandkids. Grams are people too and have their lives and their work. To me, two hours away sounds perfect. Not too far, not too close.

  11. I live but an hour fifteen to my mother and when her and my dad were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Her Sister called me and told me of a suprise party celebrating and could I bring her Grandaughter as that would be the biggest and best suprise if she were to greet them at the door before anyone else. I think she may have been 7 or 8 at the time.

  12. shubhajit, i wish you a good trip 'home.' yes, i so agree: we all are part of the children we were, still are. what a wise comment. i just visited your blog and it's sounding pretty darn good! i am so glad! xoxo

    hi lo! ♥ i wish i could watch you teaching children to draw. i know they would love you and i know you would be patient! thank you for the compliments about my two little guys. god, i love them!

    karin, i just left a comment on your post and have just come back to read your comment. how fitting. it's the little children inside us that must be nurtured and encouraged. and you, my friend, are welcome in the back seat of any adventure i'm on!!! xoxo

    pam, sometimes i think you're my Sister. ♥

    robin, ahahahaha! i was hardly talking down to mr. ryan while he was standing on a chair with me this morning helping me make banana pancakes. i told him he could not touch the dials on the stove until he was seven, and he believed me like i knew something he didn't! he did as a good a job mixing the batter as you and i did with the cupcakes, dear wrobin! xoxo

    suki, thank you yet again. ♥
    i wish it were just one hour away. that would make things so much easier. it means i could see jess and her family more on impulse.

    tusk, what a sweet story. i think it really is a special relationship. i can afford to have fun with the kids in a way i couldn't with my own beloved jess. more leisure time, i think. i still work, of course, but i am not driven to be queen of the mountain. :)

  13. Lovely photos...hard to pick a fav, but love the dandelion one...fall, it is lovely and you are the perfect g' know what's important and you are there, it's quality not quantity...

  14. I once saw a car sticker that said "If I'd known how great grandchildren were, I'd have had them first!". Seriously much as I love being a Mum, I adore being a Grandma. Your post illustrated clearly that you adore it too. I am so lucky that both my children live in London and are within an hours drive. I am still working so see the grandchildren mostly at weekends and try to help out a bit in the school holidays by juggling my work schedule. The Man and I are considered quite mad by our friends as we regularly have all four of them to stay overnight, but we love it. Best of all we have a home in Spain where we spend 4 - 5 weeks in the Summer and The Daughter brings her two to stay. They call it Papa's House in Spain - but it belongs to all of us. There are some pictures on my blog do have a look if you like.

  15. You play with them! You sure are a swell gram. Sweet photos, sweet grand kids.

  16. kj! look at these images you captured, they are gorgeous. I love the sweetness and unposed nature of each one, and the light falling across the face of the baby drew, sigh...

    i'm sorry, i will have to keep calling them babys because they are to me. and truly precious.

    i'm so glad you 4 had such a wonderful day, but i'm never surprised, you are one of the lucky ones that is every age you ever were. (which is why you understand children so well.)

    love to you,

  17. What stunning photos of the boys, kj, really. I'm sorry for the late comment, I have been really busy, and then we've been away for a small holiday.

    I know how you feel about the hours apart from your grandsons. I'm eight hours away...completely impossible to be there for any emergencies like flu and bugs. I'm really grateful there are the other set of grandparents around to help.

    I never had grandparents of my own, so I have no precedence for my grandmotherly actions. I just follow my instincts and far, that's worked out just fine!

  18. You are the best grandmother!!
    Children help us remember fun, innocence, and unconditional love in old age, when the world has beaten us about the head a little.
    The trick is to lean in to their lives with abandon and let go of ours.
    And then to carry that with us like vacation.