Kids vs. Grandkids also Happy Mother’s Day

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            Crystal and I have been truly blessed in our lives. We had the privilege of raising three beautiful, strong, independent daughters. From that wealth hath sprung forth 7 and 1/2 (one due in fall) grandchildren.

            I recently had the privilege of visiting one of my daughters, Michelle, husband Alex and two granddaughters Ayla (5) and Ripley (2) – (3 on Monday). I marveled at the constant coordinated effort required to avoid total chaos and anarchy.

            Initially everyone was thrilled to see me. To the parents I represented needed reinforcements. To the kids I was a new and exciting distraction and playmate. However, as the reality of my presences slowly faded in the background, I started to gain some perspective on how Crystal and my roles have changed throughout the years.

            As a retired grandparent I usually meander out of bed between 9 and 10 AM and stay up past midnight working on my computer or watching TV. At Michelle’s I slept in the basement apartment, and awoke between six and seven in the blessed AM, with the noise of what sounded like an army on maneuvers above my head.

            As I slowly, sleepily emerge from my sarcophagus, I was greeted my wide-awake daughter, doing dishes and asking how I slept. In the battlefield of a living room, my granddaughters, surrounded by a room full of toys and potential activities, fighting over the same, obviously most important one. Dad enters and immediately assigns an order of play, redirecting one to another activity, with the promise of a later turn.

            Throughout the day I am amazed at the family dynamics. At various times the kids play nicely, argue, are separated, occasionally disciplined, and get one-on one time with each parent. In the afternoon I got to go with Michelle to watch Ayla play soccer. Later I gave mom and dad a break watching the kids. When I eventually left, I got a hug from Ripley and a cold shoulder from Ayla. I’m pretty sure she just wanted me to stay longer. Michelle and Alex, both told me, longingly, to visit anytime.

            When I got home after my two-day adventure, I went straight to bed. I’m pretty sure I slept well past 10 AM the next morning. There may even have been an afternoon nap involved. I realized that, the great thing about being a grandparent is, while you love visiting, is you get to go home. There is no escape for the parents.

            The experience made think, and remember a time long ago, when it was Crystal and me in the meat grinder. I had a lot more energy in those days. I would come home from work and immediately be redirected to take the kids, or on occasion (by the kids), get my frazzled wife out of the house.

            Don’t get me wrong, those were good times, maybe some of the best times. I’ll never forget some of our adventures: teaching the girls sports, helping with homework, teaching them how to shop, cook, etc. We went fishing, canoeing, camping, swimming, and jogging.

            But they were tough times as well: kids getting sick or upset, fighting with the schools, family and personal stress, and often just a universal need for extra love and reassurance.

            I guess at this point, and to conclude, I have to agree with Solomon’s Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. I am quite at peace with it. I love my kids and grandkids, but I (except in emergencies) have changed my last diaper. I will always be OK with play, but leave disputes and upset children to the parents. I will, however, try to always be available to help or advise when asked.

            Finally, since this is Mother’s Day, I just need to add that, I couldn’t be prouder of Crystal, Elizabeth and Michelle. If you want proof of God, you need look no further than your nearest mom. True love and sacrifice are part of the motherhood equation.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

PS – Today May 8th 2022, our eldest grandson Keylan Meinstein, is graduating, Magna Cum Laud, from The Ohio State Universery. Hoorah!

Momentary peace during my recent visit.
This is from a few years back. The tired looking guy is me. Crystal is smiling. She must know something I don’t know. Elizabeth, Michelle, and I believe that is their cousin Matthew.

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