For years (28 to be exact), my mother has been extolling the virtues of grandparenthood. “If I knew how wonderful it was to have grandchildren,” she has often said, “I would have had them first!”

Last week, our daughter-in-law (DIL) stopped by for an overnight visit with our first grandson, Charlie, who has just turned one. My husband and I eagerly offered to let our DIL sleep in the next day. “We can take care of everything,” we offered with confidence. Taking us at our word, at five a.m. our sleepy DIL handed us a not-remotely-sleepy Charlie. He was wet, hungry and ready for action. Where should we begin?

The diaper. My husband and I each gave a silent prayer and a brave sniff. Praise be! The diaper was only wet!! We changed it with relative ease—hurdle number one: check!

As I am a sentimentalist and a very practical person at heart, I have kept certain items that others would have tossed long ago. Thus, we set up the highchair that our youngest son used 28 years before. It still worked perfectly. Hurdle number two: check! Our DIL had said that Charlie’s food was in the green bag. The correct bag was located with formula, bottles, baby food jars and some ‘easy squeezy packs’ containing such food blends as ‘Organic Apple Broccoli Peas Brown Rice’. “Do you think we are supposed to heat this?” I asked aloud. Richard looked at the package, and at me, as if we were both from Mars. That was seriously no help. After a bit more rummaging, I found an “organic pear banana kiwi” food pouch. That sounded like a good breakfast food…and it wouldn’t need to be heated. We went with that. Hurdle number three: check!

I left the bottle preparation to Richard…and I was glad that I did. “Why do they make the print for the formula instructions so small?” Richard grumbled. “And why don’t they say if we need to boil the water or not.” “There’s cooled boiled water in the kettle,” I said. Hurdle number four: check.

Charlie seemed pleased with our selections, and our preparations. He ate, drank and played happily. Feeling triumphant with our successes so far, we decided to take Charlie, and our dog, Cody, for a walk. How hard could that be?

“Socks,” Richard uttered and repeated. “Charlie will need socks.”  My DIL and Charlie were sharing a single duffle bag for their clothes and personal items. The duffle bag was upstairs, right beside the guest bedroom door. I tried to sneak upstairs quietly but Charlie, quite loudly, made it clear that he was not staying downstairs with Grandpa. “It’s a woman’s touch,” I said shrugging, as I quietly carried Charlie upstairs.

Lawrence of Arabia could not have gotten through that duffle bag! Seriously, babies require lots of stuff! I tried to be quiet. I honestly did. But Charlie kept finding things that banged together nicely…and loudly!

“Do you need something?” my half-awake DIL murmured, now standing before me. At that precise moment her bra was in my hand as I rifled through her things. “Socks,” I stammered. “Richard thought that Charlie would need socks.” Without even adjusting her eyes, she picked up Charlie’s socks from the middle of the (now incredibly scattered) pile. How did she do that? Hurdle number five: partial check!

With that, I grabbed the first tiny short-set that I could see (which I later found out were Charlie’s swim shorts and UV protection swim top). Back downstairs, we quickly dressed Charlie–socks, UV protection and all. We put Cody on his leash, Charlie in his stroller and off we went.

We were very proud of ourselves. Charlie had been changed, dressed, fed and (gently) wrangled into his stroller. We could do this! We made it to our local coffee shop and sat at an outside table. The breakfast special was coffee plus bacon and eggs on an English muffin. It came with a side of watermelon slices. That sounded like a just reward for our efforts. We ordered two. I would like to say that they were delicious, but Cody managed to abscond with most of the bacon and Charlie was intent on eating all of the watermelon. “Is he allowed to have unstrained watermelon?” Richard asked. “I won’t tell if you don’t,” I pledged.

We finished our breakfast—baby, dog, and grandparents now happy and content. Charlie fell asleep on our way back home, allowing his mother even more sleep time. All hurdles had now been successfully completed: double checks…with a bonus mark!

The entire experience was amazing. So many little joys that both Richard and I had forgotten. As we now have two more grandchildren on the way, we say: “Bring it on…we can handle it!” Just ask Charlie.

P.S. My mother was right. Having a grandchild is very cool indeed!

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27 Replies to “Grandparenting”

  1. Loved reading your story.

    We have gone similar routines.

    Every minute worth it.

    Your mother was right, would have skipped the children and went right to grandparenting.


  2. How nice that you are able to experience the joy of being a grandparent! It sounds like Charlie had a good time too. I love the picture of Charlie and Cody eyeing each other.


  3. Loved your story Donna! Grandparenting is indeed very cool. Our little Zach (already 8) is the joy of our lives. His personality astounds us and we have the time, energy (sometimes) and all the love necessary to participate in nurturing it.
    P.s. Charlie is adorable!!!


    1. Hi, Marilyn. I wholeheartedly agree! Watching their personalities develop, and being able to participate in that, is totally amazing! Thanks so much for commenting and sharing – I greatly appreciate it!


  4. Such a delightful report of your time with Charlie!! Thank you for sharing your experience and joy. (And a big thanks to you and Richard for the birthday roses! And hope you had a wonderful time at Charlie’s first birthday party! Maybe we’ll get to hear about that on your blog 🙂


  5. Hi Donna: You look great! You and Richard are very cool grandparents! Harrison is getting married soon in October so Tiger and I can expect for such a great experience in a near future.


    1. Hi, Suyi – So nice to hear from you. Please give our congratulations to Harrison..and post photos! Thanks for keeping in touch, I greatly appreciate it!


  6. My Mom said the same thing! I never had children but married a man with grown children. I have twin granddaughters, age 10. They live across the country but when we get to see them at least once a year. It’s amazing how fast they grow. Seems like they were just born last year!


    1. Hi,Kate. It totally amazes me how moms, around the world, say very similar things! I agree about Grandchildren growing fast.
      Thanks for reading, and for commenting. I look forward to reading more of your posts.


  7. I love the story of your day with Charlie! Your descriptions of looking for the socks, dressing him in his swimsuit, and the disappearing watermelon were hilarious, and familiar. We have been doing some grandparent care this summer, and I have discovered how much I had forgotten about looking after small children – locating all the parts of the bottle (they didn’t used to be so complicated!), the poop that escapes the diaper, peanut butter and jam sandwiches cut a certain way being the only acceptable lunch for a three year old – etc. Such cute pictures of your little guy 😀


  8. I smiled and laughed throughout this post. Yes, my guy and I have been through the same thing. In the past seven years we suddenly have six grandchildren (we think our son and daughter were in a competition with each other). I love the lessons we have learned!


    1. Hi, Pamela. I’m glad that you liked this post. It was fun to write — and even more fun to experience. I just began following your blog. “Inkblot Romance” got me totally hooked!


      1. Oh, great! My post today is about… a grandchild. 🙂 Most of my posts are non-fiction, like yours. Every once in a while I mix it up with some fiction. So nice to meet you.


  9. Enjoyed reading this completely. Funny how they call to make sure we are okay while watching the grandkids. Thanks for linking up with Blogging Grandmothers.


  10. I was cracking up with the ‘how hard can it be’ about taking a walk with the dog and the grand. I recently asked a friend of mine if she remembered it being such a production when our kids were little. She did not. LOL


  11. Oh my goodness, hubby says the same thing about our grandbabies (about having them first). Your grandbaby is precious! Loved the story too. It must be nice to be within walking distance of a coffee shop 🙂 Thank you Donna for sharing at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty #LinkUp #BlogParty. I shared on social media.


    1. Hi, Dee – Although our town is small, we are big on coffee shops! I am actually in walking distance to at least nine coffee shops (and that doesn’t count fast food/local restaurants)!
      Thanks for hosting another terrific link party!


  12. I loved this article. You and hubs did an excellent job. Trust me it will be easier with the next two and so much fun. Relax and enjoy…bring it on, you and hubs have got this all sewn up. Your article made me smile. Thank you for sharing with #blogginggrandmotherslinkparty. #linkparty, #party. I have shared on social media.


    1. Glad to know that Grandparenting skills get easier as you go along — we were hoping for that!
      Thanks for co-hosting this link party — I thoroughly enjoyed it!


    1. Hi, Charlotte – Thanks for stopping by. We are just at the beginning of our grandparenting experience (our eldest is 19 months). We are thoroughly enjoying our time with our grandchildren. You said ‘so far’…so maybe you have more grandchildren to come? Enjoy!


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