Thursday, 31 July 2008

Granny nanny

I am not a good grandmother. Anyway, not like some grannies among my friends who babysit twice a week or invite their grandchildren over every weekend and take care of them the whole summer. To be such a granny you need at the least to be retired or else a homemaker, and how many grannies today are retired or homemakers? Our oldest grandchild is twelve, so she is likely to have her own kids before I retire. And I am not going to babysit them. (That’s their granny’s responsibility).

Yes, I love my grandchildren. It is a joy to see them at our family gatherings. I remember well the thrill of holding a newborn, just a few hours old, knowing that my genes are now carried further. In a way, is was a greater miracle than holding a baby of my own. In my old country, in the bad old times, grandparents – and even fathers – were not allowed to meet the baby until the mother was at home, which most often took a week. So grannies in my parents’ generation never experienced this incredible sensation of just having become immortal.

When our youngest grandchild had announced her imminent arrival, our son woke me up by phone at 3 am, since I had promised to be available “any time”. I hadn’t counted on any time being 3 am. It normally takes forty-five minutes to drive to their place, but I made it in half an hour. Just as well, the baby was in a hurry to see the world. Meanwhile, the other children slept nicely except the oldest, who was a bit scared, crept up to me, as I collapsed, drowsy and shaky, into the parents’ bed. “Can I sleep beside you, granny?” “Sure, but I must warn you that I snore”. “Doesn’t matter, Mum snores too”. I was too sleepy to appreciate the dialogue then.

The reason for this flow of reminiscences is that yesterday I babysat the two youngest, two irresistible young ladies, three and one. For about eight hours, with short breaks for meals and naps, they jumped on a trampoline. I felt dizzy by merely looking.

Who knows when I get the next chance to babysit.

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