So That’s What All the Fuss is About

Charlie and his Mimi.

Charlie and his Mimi.

I became a grandparent this week. To Charlie. Beautiful, wonderful, no-other-child-can-compare Charlie.

It’s not just the arrival of this new person in my life I’ve been expecting for months; it’s that my daughter, Debra, now a mom, and her loving husband, Matt, will experience the boundless joy (and worries) of parenthood. Is there any greater role in life?

Until Tuesday at 4:14 p.m., I would have said “No.”

But now I understand. I’m not just a parent who adores her children, regardless of how old they are. I am a grandparent who already is so profoundly in love with her first born grandchild; I can’t imagine anything more stupendous in life.

I can now offer a co-conspiratorial chuckle with my seasoned grandparent friends when they relay adages like this one by Erma Bombeck: “A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.”

I totally get it.

And this one, by Gene Perret, “My grandchild has taught me what true love means. It means watching Scooby-Doo cartoons while the basketball game is on another channel.”

I get this one, too!

In a little over three days my priorities have shifted. All the things on my to-do list have slipped to the next page, and beyond. (Including my summer newsletter. Sorry, about that).

All I want to do is see him, hold him, smell him. FaceTime will be my interlude. I know I am no different from all of you other grandparents out there. For years, you’ve been telling me how this feels.

Now I know what all the fuss is about.




If This Is My Biggest Mistake…

What did I know about raising a dog? I grew up with a turtle.

The turtle, which for some reason that escapes memory was called Oscar, lasted two days. Its successor, creatively dubbed Oscar 2, vanished on day three only to be rediscovered a room away and under the television.  Apparently, as far as my mom was concerned, my sister and I had used up our pet quota. Never again did we have a pet – of any kind.

Years later when I married and had my first child, I imagined the picture-perfect family – one with a white picket fence and a dog in the yard.

“Don’t do it,” my mother-in-law warned. “Dogs are like having another child – worse.” Despite her experience-laced comments, I wasn’t about to let her prove me wrong. I could do this. Seriously, how hard could it be to own a dog?

I never considered that our child was only one-and-a-half – a full-fledged, energetic, curious toddler. Or that we had just built a house on a plot of land that was thick and rich in lush mud. Or that it was mid-December – glacially cold and two hectic weeks before Christmas. Or that even the breeder suggested we get an adult dog and not a puppy given the fact that we both worked and had a small child. What did she know? She couldn’t even control the puppy’s grandfather – long past infantile cuteness – who chumped on a glass Christmas ornament while we were signing the papers. Who understood DNA back then?

So we did it. We bought a big, whopping golden retriever puppy with paws the size of sandwich plates. Did you know a puppy’s paw is an indicator of its growth potential?

It pains me even to this day to admit our getting a puppy at that point in our lives was a mistake. But it was. Maggie ate everything in sight – except dog food.  Gone were the adorable porcelain salt and pepper shakers someone sent as a Christmas present. And the $22 filet – styrafoam, plastic and all – that we were about to put on the grill. She pooped indiscriminately – the muddy backyard, dining room carpet – no difference.  She competed with my daughter for our attention. All day in a crate while my husband and I both worked became her bedtime. All night in the house while my husband I both slept became her daytime.

Surrendering, we advertised for a couple without small children and who had access to lots of ground for roaming. They could have pure-bred Maggie for free. They came. She went. I was horribly sad. Two years later I bought my kids Ralph.

He was a red eared slider. A turtle.


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