My daughter and son-in-law called the other night, via Facetime, not a usual occurrence, and she said, “Momma, do you remember when I was a little girl, I always said when I grew up and had a baby, I wanted you to live with me and take care of it? Well. . . .”
“You’re pregnant?” (Real fast on the uptake). Eight weeks along.
“And we want you to come live with us and be our Nanny.”
Of course I said Yes! I love children, especially my own who live 3,000 miles away and have busy lives. I was a nanny for 2 1/2 years for my twin nieces and loved ever minute of it. Taking care of my grandchild, a no brainer.
A caregiver for years, I had been pondering lately how much a toll it was taking on me physically and mentally to work with those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know if I could hold out another four years or more. The opportunity to grow closer to my daughter and son-in-law, whom I barely know, was exciting. And a baby!
Then the multitude of questions started flooding in. I have been living alone for many years, how would I be within the context of a family unit? Could my depression and anxiety stand it? Would I be giving up my Section 8 voucher – something I could well need in the future? They were only married a year, did they really want to trade off on their intimacy so their child could be cared for someone they knew would love him or her?
As my daughter’s childhood grew she would say she wanted me to live next door, then down the street, to slowly evolve into nothingness. I had been reconciling myself to knowing I would be living 3,000 miles away from my children forever. This was an abrupt about face.
I asked my daughter, Dani, how Kendall would feel about living with his mother-in-law when he only got to know the few days before their wedding. Dani said he had been the one to suggest it. They had talked before the pregnancy about having me come out to live with them. Those physical and emotional issues I mentioned earlier have impeded my independence, which I treasure. How could I maintain it in a multi-generational family? Would my life get smaller as it was getting bigger?
They were thinking in foreverness, would that be realistic? Kendall is starting a Divinity Master’s in May. They might need to move when he graduates. Would I be willing to move in three years, they asked?
I had to laugh. I have lived all over New York State, two places in New Jersey, four in California, and five in Connecticut. Moving was something I knew how to do. I had just moved the month before. I liked my new place, and had downsized substantially before moving, then bought a few things to make it home. I will be downsizing one more time. God has taught me a lesson – not to be attached to things. Things don’t matter. Circumstances and people do.
The questions swirl through my brain. I am about to turn 61, this is a new Chapter in my life. There have been groundbreaking Chapters over the years. This will just be another. I recently submitted my children’s book in hope it will be published. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I could read my published book to my grandchild?
Chapters . . . is this my purpose in life? I’ll have more time to write. And more to write about. Grandparenthood – who would have thought it?