New Years 2018

Happy New Year! I’m posting this entry to my 2017 journal and will copy it to the 2018 journal when I get that set up. I’m traveling today, so I am not sure how soon I will get to the job of setting up my web site for 2018. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you may have to check your bookmarks after I get things reconfigured.

I start the new year incredibly grateful for having had a week with our son and his family in Washington. It has been a wonderful time.

I was listening as our daughter-in-law picked up her 7 month-old daughter from her car seat. The baby was fussing a little bit. Mom said, “I know. It isn’t that much fun having someone disrupt your sleep. You just get to sleep and then I come and wake you up. I don’t think I’d like it if someone was waking me up when I was trying to sleep.”

It was about all I could do to giggle. For the past seven months, and probably for a while before that, the baby has been disrupting mother’s sleep and waking her when she wanted to be sleeping. I think that mom doesn’t really need to apologize for waking the baby to take her into the house after a ride in the car.

I see an hear things as a grandfather that I probably missed when our children were little. I remember the stage of having a new born and a two-year-old as a time when I was constantly short of sleep. I learned to take a quick nap whenever the children were both sleeping at the same time. I got used to getting up in the middle of the night to help the baby. I used to joke that our son, the first born, was an excellent sleeper. Besides that, I couldn’t feed the baby, so when I got up with him, I’d just change him and give him to his mother to feed. I used to attribute his good bedtime habits and his tendency to sleep through the night from and early age to superior parenting technique. Then we adopted our daughter. She was fed formula and I could feed her and didn’t need to wake her mom. And she slept all the way through the night once when she was six years old I think. She really woke us up in the middle of the night a lot.

So I have sympathy for parents who have to get up with their children in the middle of the night and who are feeling short of sleep because of it.

There are all kinds of other moments from our trip that I will remember for quite a while. Our grandson went into his bedroom to get into his pajamas one evening. Shortly afterward there was a cry from the bedroom: “Can somebody help me? I’ve got my head stuck in my shirt and I can’t get it out.” I rushed in to help. He usually wears t-shirts and pullover tops. That day he was wearing a shirt that buttons up the front. He had tried to pull it off by pulling it over his head with all of the buttons fastened. It didn’t work. I helped him pull it back on and unbutton the buttons. Problem solved.

“Why are there dirty socks on the kitchen counter?” our daughter-in-law asked. “I don’t know. Probably because someone left them there,” our 3 year-old granddaughter replied, as if she wasn’t the someone who had just left them there.

Being the grandpa gives me a good perspective to appreciate all of the action of a busy household with three children. I can watch and listen and appreciate all of the action while knowing that the parents are responsible for their children and I don’t have to assume responsibility in the same way that I did when I was the father. We are blessed with exceptionally competent children to take care of our grandchildren, so our role is to appreciate them and enjoy being with them. We try to help out as much as possible. we can help with dishes, play with the baby, and do a few tasks that make life a little bit easier for our children when we come to visit, but we don’t have to do the whole job for very long at a time.

We did take care of all three children for a little more than three hours yesterday so our son and daughter-in-law could go to a movie. We had a ball and there were no problems, but both of us had no other tasks to accomplish. We could just play with our grandchildren and enjoy them. Their parents have to take care of all three solo on a regular basis while the mate is working. And they have other tasks to accomplish. Both parents are capable of taking care of all three children single handedly while cooking supper for the family and picking up the house. It is amazing. We only had two children so we have that down. I can pick up the baby in one hand and pick up the three-year-old in the other, no worries. But if the six year old falls down, or needs to hold a hand crossing a parking lot, I’ve completely run out of hands. I see parents with four or more children in the grocery store from time to time. I have a lot more admiration for them now that I’ve spent some time with three grandchildren.

Today we travel back home. It will be cold when we arrive and there will be plenty of work with which to catch up. We’ll begin the new year with the usual tasks of producing an annual report, and preparing for another busy year in the life of the church. It is a real blessing to have begun with such a wonderful visit with our family.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!