It’s only been 2 hours since she went to bed, and she’s crying and nothing seems to calm her. It’s her molars. Evidenced by rosy cheeks, low grade fever, and irritability, chewing on Barbie’s feet and rubbing her cheeks and ears. The dentist said she was due for her two year old molars very soon, and it looks like we’ve arrived. A bit of Tylenol and cuddles with Papa, and she begins to fall asleep again. This was a cycle that continued for some nights.
Our granddaughter, Violet, is 2 years old. She is the joy of our lives. I would have never imagined I would be raising a child starting at 50 years old. I raised my two daughters, and was happy to be a Grandma. I was in my 15th year of my career as a board certified music therapist. I was happily remarried and overall, life was good. But, God had a little bit of a detour for us.
My youngest daughter, was diagnosed with a major mental illness, a brain disorder that changed all of our lives from the moment she was diagnosed at 18 years old. She had two children over the next 4 years, which made life even more challenging. My daughter had lived with us during her pregnancy with Violet and Violet’s first year. She’s lived with us for most of her life. For a few long months, my daughter attempted to balance her mental health needs and caring for the children independently. It proved to be beyond what she was able to handle. Because of that, we as a family, had to step in to make sure the children were safely and properly cared for. Her oldest now lives with his father. My husband and I gained full custody of Violet in this past year. There was no way I would have ever let her go into the system. As long as I’m alive, I will always be there for her.
Keeping up with little Violet, does push me to be a better grandma and mom-like figure. I’m not 25 anymore, searching for myself and raising 2 kids. I am 50. It’s still hard to believe! But, there are such good things about having 25 more years of life behind me in this stage. We cuddle longer, talk more, and yell less. A grandparents love for their grandchildren is so special. The last 25 years have brought about a different set of ideas on raising a child the second time around. I’m more laid back. Humor is important, and I’ve learned skills that make me more mindful of child rearing. I’m not perfect. I catch myself falling back into old ways, but quickly acknowledge it and change my course. Joe and I communicate on a daily basis. It is paramount. It helps us both to handle the hard times and enjoy the good times.
I am willing to be on this journey at this stage of my life. Sure, I know I’ll be 66 when she graduates from high school. We love her and will learn more about her and about ourselves, and we’ll even get through the teething phase. We know this little girl is a blessing, and God has entrusted her to us. This part of life may not be what I thought would happen, but it is what it is. And, that’s okay. Kids are the future and she’s worth it.