GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 10

grandfathers

God Knows

God certainly knew what he was doing when he biologically made childbearing years for younger people. Being a
Medicare, Social Security eligible caregiver to a nonstop 2
and a half-year-old is not for the faint of heart. Forget that
stuff about 70 being the new 50 or that vitamins and supplements will be the boost you need to keep up mentally or
physically with a child that fights exhaustion and is unwillingly to rest until he collapses.

"

...my grandson has a meltdown just
moments before his mom comes
through the door. I want to believe
she accepts my desperate attempt to
convince her that honestly, up to a
moment ago, we had a great day.

"

How a human being can be smiling and laughing one
minute and crying inconsolably the next for, whatever toddlers cry and have meltdowns about, is a mystery. Clearly, I
get that I touched his spoon and I did not fully grasp what
his visceral reaction would be to my indiscretion. Thoughts
of a nervous breakdown momentarily danced through my
head as a rational response while I tried to make sense of
the overreaction of a toddler.
I do not have a working TV, but the little guy has an iPad
10 GRAND

WINTER 2021

and I was cognizant of his screen time and attempted to
balance that with outside hikes and more educational pursuits. Yet, try to explain to a toddler why you can't go outside in the rain or sleet when the temperature has dipped to
uncomfortable levels.
Not to mention the incredulity resulting from asking if
they need to use the bathroom before you ready them to
brave the outside elements -- and they tell you, no, only to
change that to a yes, as you struggle with the last snap or
shoving on a too-tight boot.
Knowing that my reinforcement, my daughter, would
soon be home was like being a bogged down infantry soldier waiting for the cavalry to come to the rescue after an
infinity of heavy bombardment. And when she said she was
stopping for takeout and I realized I did not have to plan
another meal that the little guy was unlikely to eat anyway, I
was ecstatic.
Of course, inevitably, after a joyful day of play and after
giving myself permission to pat me on the back for the great
job I am doing in my grandfatherly role, my grandson has a
meltdown just moments before his mom comes through the
door. I want to believe she accepts my desperate attempt to
convince her that honestly, up to a moment ago, we had a
great day.

Return To Normalcy

With a COVID vaccine on its way, the refrain of " return to

normalcy " is ringing across the land. Yet for stay-at-home

moms of young children, " normal " is a relative term. I'm
lucky. I'm getting a break. My experience, both the joy

and the challenge of being a " temporary mom " was shortlived. I will be able to cherish the joy and suppress the less
joyous aspects. But the psychological trauma along with
the joy of this period is likely to remain with many for a
good period after COVID passes.

It is not too early to start planning now to truly cel-

ebrate moms as their special day grows near. But, I'm here
to tell you that breakfast in bed, a cute hand-drawn card,
homemade arts and crafts, flowers, and another takeout

meal won't begin to say " I REALLY appreciate and love you
after the past year. " Better still, don't wait for that " special
day " ; find ways now to give the moms you love, respect,

and admire a daily break. They have more than earned and
certainly need it. After being a " mom " for a short duration,
I can attest to the value they bring to make our collective
existence better.

Just thinking about the experience, the love, and the

special memories we made makes me smile and long for

the nap my grandson never wanted, but grandpa needed
to take.

Tom Watkins (aka, Grandpa Tom), and native
Washingtonian served the citizens of Michigan
as state Department of Mental Health Director
and Superintendent of Public Education. He is an
international business and educational consultant.


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GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021

Contents
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 1
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 2
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 3
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - Contents
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 5
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 6
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 7
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 8
GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 9
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