Life’s Little Twists and Turns

Several years ago, my mother introduced me to what has become one of my favorite movies – While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock. In the beginning of this movie, she is telling about her childhood and her father. She tells how her father tried to explain that life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. In the movie and in real life, I have found this to be true.

As my husband and I reached that time in life where retirement promised fun-filled travel visiting children and grandchildren and exploring places we had never had the time or income to do before, we got a little side tracked.

Our youngest daughter had a beautiful baby girl. As a single mom, she needed help.  As the grandparents we loved giving it. Eight years later, the little one still lives with us and has grown to be a Princess who truly believes in her royalty. So much so that she is often referred to as a queen – actually a drama queen but whose quibling? She loves animals, outdoors and anything allowing her unending activity. Her body, her mind and her mouth are in perpetual motion causing her to get into all kinds of trouble when not carefully supervised.

About a year ago, we met another single mom who needed a home where her little one could live while she got her life organized. He is a developmentally dsabled little boy whom we call ‘Nature Boy.’ We call him that because he despises clothing and removes it whenever no one is watching. Naturally, in public, we keep a close eye on him. At home, he is often found happily watching Blues Clues completely in the buff. Sometimes he’s outdoors on his tummy on the swing with his little butt in the air. Thank God for privacy fences and older girls who call to inform me, “Grandma, Nature Boy is naked again!” He’s a happy little guy enjoying the world around him and somehow being able to get through to us what his wants and needs are even though he doesn’t talk yet.

Nature Boy has a little brother just 2 months old now who also lives with us. The Little Guy has blue eyes that study the world around him solemnly. Only occasionally smiling but when he does his whole face gets involved. He sleeps through much of his day and, thankfully, has begun to sleep longer stretches through the night. Lack of sleep was forcing me to recognize my age limitations. We aren’t technically the grandparents of the two boys. They just call us that because Princess does and we allow it because we consider their mother our pseudo-daughter.

We met another single mom around the same time we met Nature Boy’s mother. She has two little girls who are now just 10 months and 20 months. These little ones don’t live with us but we help out mommy on the week-ends when she has to work and needs a sitter. The two little girls come to stay with us on Friday nights and stay through Sunday. We enjoy watching the 20 month old as she dances through the house to any music available whether it be radio, television, Grandma singing or her singing to herself. She has little, happy feet that never stop moving unless she hears the sound of the word ‘no’. Then it becomes obvious that she is approaching the terrible two’s. She does a Jekyl and Hyde transformation that is astounding. Those happy feet do a quick transformation from dancing to stamping that is accompanied, not by music, but by a scream that is heard throughout the neighborhood. Her younger sister is a calmer, quieter child. She loves being rocked and cuddled.  When no one is available to rock her, she plays quietly with her toys, studying everything she sees with her big, beautiful blue eyes. Part of her studying things involves eating anything that she might find on the floor that has been left there by the others. She isn’t a a picky eater which is good when mealtimes come but not so good when chalk, crayons, Polly Pockets, matchbox cars and toy soldiers are left lying around.

It feels somewhat like my life is a ‘do-over’ today. While the biological children and adoptive children have grown and blessed me with many grandchilden, things just haven’t turned out the way I planned. I have retired but haven’t started the trips around the country visiting grandchildren and adult children. I haven’t taken the time to plan trips overseas or cruises on ships. On the bright side, I don’t have time to sit around discussing my health or my latest ‘procedure’ with the other retirees I know.

My life hasn’t turned out the way I planned.

I could, of course, sit and complain about all of this because I truly miss having the opportunity to visit the grandchildren who live out of state and I feel that I am missing a great deal of my children’s lives that I wish I could be there for. I wish I could be there for the tough times they experience, to help them when they need an evening out without the children, and to just be there to laugh with them and to talk to them.  I love those I don’t get to see every day. I also love those I do see every day. In choosing not to dwell on the negatives, I have been blessed with the joy of having little ones to hug, whose smiles light up their faces when they see me coming (unless they are coloring on the walls which means I will be seeing their little backs running down the hall). My life is good. Not what I had planned but very good anyway.

So why am I talking about this? I’m trying to encourage you to realize that not everything in life has to be neatly organized nor does it have to come in logical steps. Don’t spend time regretting what isn’t. Do spend time embracing the life you have been given and recognizing the good that you are blessed with.

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