What I’ve Learned So Far Since Becoming a Grandparent

Isaac Samuel, age 12 days

Isaac Samuel Celovsky was born at home on May 16th, 2012, in a hurry, almost beating the midwife, the doula, and his RN auntie. It was a kind of 1 a.m. manic ballet, with cases of medical supplies scattered around, each player performing some necessary duty for mom and baby. Low light, low laughter.

Several hours later, while holding our beautiful boy, Willow, the doula, announced: “And that’s how you have a baby!”

His big sister, Natalia, slept through the entire birth. She arrived 2 years ago and our family is, to put it mildly, crazy about her.

I confess, at this point, to being one of those moms whose Memory Lane has never been paved, and who doggedly pulls her little red wagon of regret over the stones and ruts of remembered failures, all the while weeping into a well-preserved cloth diaper.

Pathetic, I know, but there it is.

I am, however, being redeemed. Becoming a grandparent has been an extravagant gift, an offering of grace. And within its abundance is the possibility of a kind of existential rewind, a do-over. Here are a few things I have learned so far:

  • Grandchildren are not “all the joy without the responsibility”. They are joy with welcome responsibilities. That those responsibilities are not 24/7 adds to the joy. Got that?
  • Grandchildren are a constant and healthy reminder of the swift passage of time. So, to avoid another red wagon, I’ve learned to slow way down and savor them in all their miracle, move at their pace, see the bugs, hear the birds, touch the grass – with a fresh sense of wonder. Except for spiders.
  • Grandchildren provide an opportunity to instill a love of books and reading in the next generation. A particularly satisfying pleasure. We can revisit all the old favorites and be enchanted by new ones. Dr. Seuss? Still genius.
  • Grandchildren remind us of the gift of animals. Imagine the world without them. Think about how small children love our pets at home, how much of children’s literature focuses on the exquisite creatures of the earth, how keen we are to get our kids to the zoo. When praying over her food, Natalia invariably asks God to bless the “penguins and lemurs.” Madagascar, you know. Animals rock. Grandkids help us remember that.
  • Grandchildren help us practice all those other life lessons learned. Things like not sweating the small stuff (trite, but, you must admit, true). In fact, it’s better to hold tighter to the Father’s hand and not sweat the big stuff, either.

    Natalia Renae, age 2

My husband and I have been assured of a grandchild every 2 years for the foreseeable future.

Okay, so that was what I think I heard.

My family is small and scattered across the United States. Sam’s is large and scattered around the world. We intend, therefore, to keep filling up our home right here in Sonoma County with loved ones, including lots and lots of grandbabies.

Because we’re learning, that’s how you build a family.

What grandparent lessons have you learned? Or, what things do you see your children teaching?


9 responses to this post.

  1. Beautiful sister Deb! What a blessing! Wow, think of the possibilities. If you live to be 100 you will have your own little tribe of grand babies! God is good! Blessings!


  2. Tribe of grandbabies! That’s the goal.


  3. Posted by Linda Hopper on June 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Oh my, I could not agree more with your observations! I have four precious grandchildren now; & indeed they do give us a Do Over! They also give us excuses to be kids again ourselves. Love those babies!


  4. I’m already emotional, but this post just pushed me over the top. What a beautiful way of sharing! You certainly have a way with words 🙂 Have a wonderful day, Debra, and enjoy those beautiful grandbabies! Their cheeks just make me melt!


  5. Posted by Debbie Blackmon on June 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Leave it to you smarty pants to write something so beautiful. You were always wayyyyyyy above me in expressing yourself and looking soooo smart in the process! What a beautiful boy (athough its pretty hard to beat my beautiful grandbabies, you can’t pass me up there!!!! I just found out I am having my sixth.


  6. Posted by Erin Smith on June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Smiling:) This is beautiful… the redemption… I hope it’s not too late to stop dragging the wagon of regret over my failures as a mom thus far, and begin to make the changes that will unwrap the gift of parenthood. I don’t want to wait to be a grandparent to watch the wonder unfold. This is my prayer, that I would begin and continue to enjoy the small and the big stuff, always:)


  7. To sit, and read your blogs, is like slipping into an exquisite bath of something delicious, and beautiful, like rose petals, or cool water on a hot day. I can just….. relax into it. Beautiful insights, for all of us. Thank you.


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