Sunday, June 3, 2007

His name is Steven

There was a little boy named Steven, who was the firstborn grandchild in our family. I thought I would really like being a grandmother, but I had no idea that he would become the "Light of My life". Children are very different from when I was raising mine. They are free spirits, that will go anywhere, anytime, because they have been to day care and are outgoing. We were living on a small horse farm when he was born and suddenly the grandma who swore she would not be a full time babysitter was open to his staying overnight anytime or all the time. We had so much fun together and he was game for anything. We cleared the brush from a small copse of trees with his tiny hands in rubber gloves to keep him from touching the poison ivy. The child was a pyromaniac and loved to clear the brush and have glorious bonfires. We dumped large limestone rocks down an old, existing cistern to fill it up, so no child would accidentally stumble upon it and drown. We took the boom box outside and played tapes of Christian pop music. The child was certain that he sang exactly like Sandi Patti. Sure he did! Day after day we worked with such camaraderie, that the task became joy --- just being together. One day when we had finished about twenty feet of clearing small saplings and debris, Steven in the wisdom of his four years said, "Would you look at the size of that uthwum?"As I turned to see his amazing earthworm, he gave a final rake to the now barren ground and in tones to waken the dead screamed, "It's a snake!" and jumped into my arms.
His Grandpa spent many weekends showing quarter horses at conformation shows, so Steven kept me company and never seemed to miss his Mommy and Daddy as long as he had me to cuddle him and make him "my special boy". He slept in our king sized bed and we stayed awake late at night and watched his favorite things on T.V. --- the QVC channels --- he loved keeping track of the number of items left before the clock clanged doom. I should have known that we had a huckster on our hands way back then. I admit to being a sneaky Grandma. His mom and dad had a few problems, but my daughter was too proud to tell her parents that all was not well in paradise. He was telling me about the day his dad was looking for a certain shirt in the dryer and he pulled the clothes out and dropped them on the floor as he looked for that shirt. To which, I asked, " What did your Mommy say when she found the clothes on the floor?" With a serious face, he said, "Why that asho!" It certainly is hard to keep a straight face when you are priming the kid for information and gossip drips innocently from his lips . I never came right out and asked my daughter if they were having marital troubles, but eventually (after three boys in four years) they divorced and I knew that my fears had been well founded. She took care of the kids, taught school full time and got her master's degree + in the next 2 1/2 years. I took full advantage of the situation to keep one or two of the boys for overnights , whenever I had the chance. All three of my children had baby boys when Steven was two. They are all college age and treat each other as cousin/brothers. One of these days I'll get to some of my other wonderful grandchildren and bore the be jabbers out of you with their exploits. But, for now ---the only constant was the thing Steven and I had between us. He would come in the back door and through the living room with a look of determination on his face and a fast pace in his feet---looking for his "Mamaw". About five, he stated with a solemn face, "You're not my Mamaw --- You are my Drandma ---- Right Mamaw?" I can't even explain how he made me feel. I loved my own three children dearly, but I had no time to spend just basking in the light of a young child's love for me. One day I dropped a bowl of homemade vegetable, beef soup and it sprayed up and over the counter, the cupboards and the floor. Green beans were hanging at rakish angles from the window over the sink and corn was sliding down the cupboard doors. I started to laugh and said, "Did you ever see such a colossal mess?" He replied with a stricken look, "My mom wouldn't say that!" I was afraid to ask what she would have said!
I want all of the young mommy bloggers to know that the children in your life are just the beginning. Children grow up too fast, so savor every minute with them. Steven is twenty-five now; just about to start law school after having worked for our Governor in Washington for the last three years. He is out of our daily lives, but never out of our thoughts and hearts. I wish I could have a mulligan for those early years.


Matty said...

That's a wonderful story...and I know exactly how you feel. I met my wonderful grandson when he was only 6 months old...2 years later his sister came alone. I never planned to be a live-in baby-sitter. It just happened. The biological mother took off with another guy and later had a 3rd child. My son who has tried his best has many to the kids, I'm their world.
They make me feel so special...even though God has given me crosses to bear.....he has given me these kids to lighten my load.
They have given me more than I could possibly ever give them.
I want to hold on to them and keep them young, but time is going so fast.

Big Dave T said...

No grandchildren yet for my and my wife. Maybe some day. I actually have toys put away in the attic for such a day. Hopefully if we are so blessed, he or she will be as fun as Steven.

Lisa said...


Kids say the darndest things. I remember my kids used to come out with such funny stuff, it was like their own little comedy shtick!! I tried to always appreciate them at each stage (even now, while they're teens), because I know how fast time flies.

I can imagine that you are just about the bestest "Drandma" around!

Steve said...

"But did he ever return? No, he never returned. And his fate is still unlearned. He's the man who never returned."

I got into Duke! Will go there unless I get into Penn...

"FIGHT THE FARE INCREASE, vote for George O'Brien! Get poor Charlie off the M.T.A."

Kacey said...

Charlie's wife goes down to the Scollay Square Station,
Every day at a quarter past two,
And thru the open window
She hands Charlie a sandwich, As the train goes rumbling thru!