My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life As The Nana of Two

When we last left this story I was just coming off of a "more social than usual" weekend and getting ready to head South by 100 miles, give or take, to visit with Ollie and his parents for a few days.

I don't know why but I just thought about the commercial where the grandparents arrive to visit the twin babies and the parents rush out with their suitcases while the grandfather drones, "don't leave us with the babies....". Visiting Ollie was NOT like that but we definitely all took turns bouncing, singing, walking outside, cuddling and developing our own recipe for soothing him. Cody said that he had been doing that bouncing comfort move so much that he found himself in Wendy's shaking his chicken sandwich up and down. I find myself randomly rocking from side to side whenever I'm standing up. After 21 years of no babies, I now have two babies and it still blows my mind! I use basically the same method of calming both Cosette and Oliver which is... swaddle their legs, hold them where their tummy is facing in toward my tummy and hold the paci in their mouth. This method only works if they're not hungry or in need of a change. My mom has a few tricks up her sleeve as well but the one that worked best was buying Ollie a swing!
 He loves his little swing buddies! Also, he has amazing neck control for a tiny baby! My boys all sat up by six months and walked by eight months and I think both babies will be on similar development paths. 

I remember when we brought Cody home from the hospital as a newborn... I was so excited to have two children at two different stages of development! Ryan was 3 years and 9 months old when Cody was born so I had the fun preschooler and the precious tiny little baby. On our first evening home their dad had to run out for supplies and I was alone with both boys for the first time while trying to sort out the laundry situation. They were both crying and all of a sudden it hit me... I had two kids who not only would be at two different stages of development... I had two kids who would both need me at the SAME TIME!  I leaned against the washing machine and slid to the floor in a moment of frightening clarity.

Having Irish Grandtwins carries a little bit of the same panic for me. It's so important to me that both babies know me and know how much I love them. It's important (probably more important here at first) that both sets of parents know how much I love their baby and that they feel supported and encouraged by me. I want to give the same amount of attention to both but the hard truth of the matter is that one baby is a few miles up the road and the other baby is a hundred miles away and I don't travel well.

Just for the record, riding in an RV is not the cushy, float on pillows experience I had thought it would be. There was a slight mishap with a little bump against the RV that hurt like a hot poker in my spine before we even got on the road. The comfy seats that I thought would make for a fabulous opportunity to prop my feet up - so my knees and ankles don't swell - were not as comfy as I thought. I had been warned that the bed in the back was the least comfy spot to ride in but about 3/4 of the way down I decided to try it out and it was better than the dinette seats if I propped myself against a pillow but it was painful enough to make this face. Lugging luggage - enough for a couple of days - meant more stress on my spine.

Respecting the difficulty of the journey made me want to soak up every drop of Ollie-love that I could while I was there. By the time we left on Friday I was one big bag of hurt. I'm still worn out - worn out enough that I had to postpone my usual weekly Cosette cuddle session today. I just don't bounce back like I want to. Factor in a round of Evil Gut Pain combined with a few arthritis flaring rainy days and... you've got a Two Naps A Day Nana situation.

But how sweet is this little fella with his arm up by his face? Cosette and Oliver both want their hands out of the swaddle. I'm more confident changing Oliver than I am Cosette because my three babies were boys. Girls have all those crevices and stuff. I've been left alone with Oliver but not with Cosette yet. Both are nurslings and both have maternal grandparents who are very involved in their lives. I'm glad that they are both loved so very much by people besides just Nana.  

  I could (and do) hold both of them past my comfort level because I just want to soak up as much of them as I possibly can! Both prefer being held up in a vertical position rather than being cradled in a horizontal way. Both have mine/their dads' lips and chin and you would think they are the fitting image of their fathers until you see their moms! Cosette looks a lot like Tasha and Oliver is Marquee Jr! They are both absolutely adorable and I love them so very much.

So much that I want to make everything as fair as I possibly can which is completely contrary to my parenting style. I NEVER set out to do all things equally for all three boys when they were growing up. I didn't want to hold out on things that I couldn't do times three and there were uh-LOT of things I couldn't do times three as a single mom. I wanted each boy to have their own unique bond with me and truly, that's what we have. 

Oliver sitting propped up on Nana


Cosette and her doll, Eponine. 
My greatest desire right now (always) is to have all of my eggs in the same basket. There are five people on this planet that wouldn't be here if I hadn't lived and I want them all together as much as possible. I want Cosette and Oliver to grow up together. I want pictures of them together - even dressed alike - as soon as possible. I feel frantic, almost, about having them get to know each other.

It's scary. My nephew Caleb and my niece Jamie are about the same distance apart as Cosette and Oliver. Their first photos together were when they were a year / nine months old. I took dozens of pictures of the two of them together and was soooo looking forward to watching them grow up together. But my brother has been estranged from our family since Caleb and Jamie were around 3 years old and I doubt either one remembers the other. I watch Jamie and try to imagine what Caleb is like now and grieve the loss of him and his siblings even still.

The bottom line is that love carries a risk, whether it's romantic love or the love you have for your family or the love you have for your friends. There's a saying that "to be a mom is to have your heart walking around outside of your body." Being a grandmother takes that to the next degree. I'm not a control freak but there is so much anxiety for me in not having any control over the lives of these babies. I mean, I am quick to suggest things when Cosette or Oliver are upset but I do try to defer to their parents' preferences for things like what I post on social media and - well, everything!  I'm pushing myself beyond my physical comfort zone to spend time with them. I'm also putting myself beyond my emotional comfort zone by loving them as much as I do. I've lost a lot in my life and I'm reluctant to develop or trust in relationships any more. Loving these kids makes me feel so vulnerable! Wanting them to know and love each other feels like the best legacy I can leave for them. No matter what the future holds for all of us, I hope they will find their way here and know how much I love and treasure them both from the very beginning.

Tasha told Cosette she was mailing her to Nana's and Cosette smiled... didn't quite catch the magic moment but still! Baby girl loves her Nana! She also loves her feet which she has just discovered.

Ollie-pop gave me a little smile last week but I was nowhere near a camera at the time. It might have been gas... but I want to believe it was a purposeful expression of joy!

Life as the Nana of two babies is beautiful beyond what I could have imagined and much more scary than I ever anticipated. I'd love to hear from those of you who are grandparents if you wouldn't mind sharing if you had the same kind of anxiety/delight that I'm feeling. Thanks for reading here. I've been working on this blog post for three hours so I'm gonna go watch some youtube videos and eat my italian ice. Love and hugs, y'all!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Grands!! :)

Krista said...

Heather I love seeing your post on Facebook about your grandbabies. This is the first time I've actually clicked on and read a blog about them and I'm dire glad I did. It seems like yesterday our little babies were on the ball fields I'm one form or the other and now our babies have babies... I can so relate to the love you feel it is so much more than I ever could have imagined. My heart explodes at the sight or sound of shane. I cannot imagine not having him in our lives for even a moment. Courtney moved out another ago so it had been a real adjustment for us. While we see them almost everyday I still miss our moments everyday that he and I shared. We found out last week that we are having another one. She is 12 weeks pregnant and this will put th 15 months apart. I feel for her in all the struggles she is going to face with 2 babies so close and just experiencing so many 1st herself. First job fort apartment etc.. having 2 babies to love is going to explode my heart..... and seeing my baby love that baby and the mother she is just overwhelms me.... take care my friend and enjoy every cherished moment you have... it truly is a blessing and they are our legacy... love knows no boundries....