The day started with two flat tyres on his buggy. I made the calamitous mistake of trying to pump the wheels up with him still sitting in his seat. I would have got him out, but he weighs a ton, and to bugger my back at that time in the morning seemed risky. Not only did the tyres refuse to pump, but the whole buggy mangaged to fall over, and my little grandson began his day with a whopping clout on his forehead... (Note to parents - Grandmas can be really stupid.)
I am reminded of the experiment carried out by Olympic athelete Daly Thompson when he was at the top of his game. All he had to do, for one day, was mimic a tiny little toddler. When the baby got up, Daly got up. When the baby sat down, Daly did the same. Whatever the baby did, and where ever the baby went, Daly followed him. The end result? Baby gold medal - Daly, absolutely nowhere. He was wiped out trying to match the energy of the child.
You would think I would know better. A few decades ago I had four little children of my own. I KNOW you can't keep up with them. What did I do in those days, that clearly I have forgotten to do now?
Having slept on it, I think I might have got it.
Back then, I just got on with my life and they followed me... Whatever I was doing, they would join in. If I was cooking, they cooked. If I was gardening, they gardened. I didn't spend my days tracking their every move, wearing myself out like an aging, neurotic hound dog.
That's where I went wrong yesterday. I took the children out, and tried to match them. How silly was I?
The trouble is, grandmas are always terrified of returning damaged children to their parents - they can't relax for a single second - constantly imagining bumps and bruises and cuts and scrapes. Frankly a cotton wool room wouldn't be safe enough.
When they are your own children it's one thing, when they belong to someone else, it's most definately another.
I guess the only answer is to 'chill-the-hell-out'. If they get a bump - they get a bump. It's part of life to know where your boundaries are. It's part of growing-up to know what you can and cannot do. It's called being free to find yourself.
Perhaps for grandma the lesson is to know, that it is also part of life to accept that if you love them, that really is good enough. It is pointless to spend the precious time with these gorgeous little people stressing about what disasters might happen.
Will I do better next time? Will I be able to gently supervise and allow what happens to happen? Will I finish the day with more love and light in my heart than when I started? I do hope so. Life on planet earth is way too fleeting to miss a moment of all the blessings that come to us, if we just allow and accept them. Our time here goes so fast, and if it is to have held any purpose at all, surely it must be to have lived in gratitude, happiness and loving kindness. :-)