by Barbara Sanders

Can you imagine being without kids for almost a decade and a half, and suddenly becoming a 'parent' again? Well, you could call us almost parents. We have been keeping four of our grandchildren for the summer, while their Mom works - from Monday morning until Friday afternoon. No more sleeping late, enjoying the luxury of a good soft bed, and no alarm ringing. The youngest provides that, like clockwork! No more eating veggies - nobody likes them. You get, "Why would I want to eat that yucky stuff?" "To be healthy", is our reply. "I don't care; I won't eat it", we get back in return. And so the story goes.

And kids can straighten you out! Ever been 'showed up' by a smart kid? Well, my youngest grandchild looked at me so earnestly the other day, after Papa had forgotten something he had promised him. He said, "Nanny, Papa said he wouldn't lie again, and he's done it again". I almost cracked up, relaying the message to my husband! He had again promised to ride our grandson on the big tractor, but it got too late. Needless to say, this was the second time, and, on the first round, he had said, "I won't lie to you again." So, he's been corrected! Yes, They miss absolutely nothing any days! Do they learn that well in kindergarten?

We have two that are almost teenagers. And I know you've been there before, if you've had kids. They know it all, and nothing pleases them, if it's not to their standards. The clothes are yucky, the food is yucky, the hairdo is yucky, and you act like you're old! Well, aren't we? I know my grandparents seemed ancient, when I was growing up. But, so did my parents!

The beds are fought over, and who sleeps with whom, considering we don't have four extra beds in this house. So the two young ones have to sleep with the two older ones. Well, the granddaughter is a lone sleeper at her house, and considers it terrible to have to sleep with a younger brother, especially the one that 'snores'! But, we try to tell her it's only for a time, and then she can go back to her way of living. Honestly, you'd think you asked them to eat something good - would it be a sin?

The two little boys are like little Trojans! There's nothing they won't try, nothing that's too hard, nothing too dangerous - just mention it. On second thought, you don't have to mention it. They'll figure it out for themselves. If a quiet peaceful moment exists, forget it! It's going to be interrupted with a cry, "HE HIT ME!" and then the fight starts. Or should I say the wrestling and running through the house. It's enough to make the hair rise on your head. Or should I say, your nerves 'stand on end'? I, just the other day, emailed a close friend and asked if she had some extra nerves she could lend me. Needless to say, with two teenagers in her home, she did not have any to spare. I've been there - done that.

But, being 'housed' with the youngest breaks all the barriers. Just one moment alone with that little thinker and you forget about all the pleasures you've missed during the summer, all the quiet moments that have passed you by - it doesn't matter anymore. For instance, the other day, I was cooking dinner, when in he walked, unannounced. He came over to the stove where I was cooking and looked at me with those big brown eyes and a serious look on his face.

"Nanny, why do you have to do all the cooking?" he asked. I answered, "I just have to". And, the clincher came - worth all the troubles of having four rambunctious kids all summer! "Well, it's just not fair. Papa should have to do some of the cooking too!" Well, that child won my heart, a big hug, and a prize to boot!

"Papa, you heard him. You're going to have to carry some of the load."

Written ©July 28, 2001 by Barbara Sanders, AL. All rights reserved.


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