When Our Children Become Parents

My son John, with Penelope Katherine
My son John with his daughter, Penelope Katherine

“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”
Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

My granddaughter Penelope is now one month old. She no longer has that mini newborn look. Her features are becoming more pronounced and her personality is taking shape. Nursing is her favorite pastime along with snuggling. Resting in someone’s arms (especially mommy’s), nice and warm, is her favorite place to be.

It has been a wonderful experience to be a part of Penny’s first month. The excitement of the birth, the few weeks afterwards, and the love I feel towards my granddaughter reminds me of my grandson’s birth fourteen years ago. It feels good to embrace these moments all over again.

Watching my son’s newly acquired fatherhood has been a true gift. Penelope’s mom Jess told me the day after the birth that John said, “I can’t believe how beautiful she is.” I never doubted that he would look into his baby’s eyes and be in love.

When John and Jess found out they were expecting, John was a nervous father to be. I tried to talk to him on a number of occasions but I was too wordy and he, too wound up. Like an organized person on hyper drive, he saw everything that needed to be done- the nursery painted and complete, plenty of frozen meals in the fridge, lots of clean baby onesies ready for action.

It turned out Penelope was on her own schedule. She arrived two weeks after her due date, giving both Jess and John lots of extra time. I called one day to invite them to dinner and Jess told me John was cleaning out closets. By the time Penny arrived, they were both ready.

John and Penny
John and Penny

To watch my son with his daughter is simultaneously a spiritual and hilarious experience. He looks at her like she is the stars and the sky. Then he kisses her hands and nose. Penny stares at him like he is her favorite boyfriend. If she makes funny noises or faces, we all laugh. Baby, Mom, and Dad have a bond of love. If she is crying, John will pick her up and talk to her. Most of the time (unless she wants mommy’s milk) Penny stops crying.

John and Jess are a team. It is reassuring for me to see them in action. They will frequently give each other breaks, taking naps to recharge themselves. John tidies up the house nightly, prepares a nice dinner, then cleans up the kitchen. Jess will nurse Penelope, a full time job at the moment.

A few days ago I spent the afternoon with them. While I held Penny, John cooked dinner. Funky 80’s music played in the background. A great song came on and the four of us danced. It was the best.

I’m a calmer grandmother this time around. Fourteen years of grand wisdom have given me a perspective of when to worry and when to let it go. God has granted us a huge blessing. Her name is Penelope Katherine.

I'm one month old!
I’m one month old!

 

 

 

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Moments

This past weekend marked a special event. After thirty one years of living with us, my daughter has moved into her very first house.

It has been quite a transition for us, a big time reality check that includes a stark awareness of how time really does march on. We have all been through much together, thick and thin, and weathered it all with the grace of God.

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,”You owe me.” Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” ― Rumi

I am in the right place (I hope) about my daughter’s departure. She is a love that lights up the sky and it is her time to have the freedom she has long desired and worked so hard for. Her leaving is a testament to having goals. She went to school, got good grades, worked part time then full time, She saved her money and pursued this little house with a big yard because she’d like to have a small farm someday.

My son has been gone for five years already so I am used to him not being here (except for holidays). I think Jim is apprehensive about the quiet around our house but I feel ready. Maybe I will change my mind, but I know time cannot stand still and we all have to move on.

finishedpeanutbuttercookies1Through all this, I’ve been thinking about peanut butter and jelly. And eating peanut butter and jelly. It is the basic comfort food, the quintessential sandwich of childhood, the “everything will be all right” kind of nourishment that we all crave when life gets alittle challenging.

I found a wonderful blog recently called “Confetti Diaries” and asked Natalie if I could publish the delicious picture of her peanut butter and jelly cookies. I’m going to make a batch of these soon. And then I think I’ll take some over to my daughter’s house.

Click HERE for the link to Natalie’s cookie recipe.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

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