When Andy and I moved to Texas nearly a decade ago, our primary responsibility was taking care of three-month-old Noah Paul. Hannah had a few weeks before she had to return to work at AT&T, so we were able to ease into his routines and get to know him. He was an easy baby and at that fun age where he smiled and laughed but didn't go anywhere by himself. We had temporarily moved in with Hannah, Reagan and Lena Rose, who was three years old. Our days were filled with bottle feedings, baths on the kitchen island, naps and playtimes. We got Lena to preschool and picked her up at the end of the day.
A year-and-a-half later, we bought a house nearby and continued taking care of Noah each day, arriving just as Mom and Dad took off for work. It was great fun to watch him grow and turn into a mischievous toddler. Now he's nine and life has changed dramatically. Several days a week, he's dropped off at our house for breakfast and then to school so his parents can get Lena to her bus and get to work. I pick him up at the end of the school day, give him a snack (or two) and wait for his dad to pick him up for soccer or Tae Kwon Do.
On Wednesday, I pick up Noah and his friend Theo and they have math tutoring at our house. On Thursday night, he usually stays at our house because his mom has an evening obligation and overnight stay. Noah is the perfect houseguest, in bed by nine and up for breakfast (cheese omelet, fruit, toast and juice) at seven. We often pick Lena up from volleyball practice at her school or get her from the bus, as well as getting her to her club volleyball practice. Occasionally, we need to get our oldest grandson Booker to or from his high school when his parent's work schedule is complicated.
Then there's the crowded calendar of soccer matches, orchestra concerts, volleyball games and tournaments, Tae Kwon Do belt tests and most recently, a school play in which Booker played a starring role. We are there for almost all of these events and enjoy every minute. I often get the kids to a dentist or orthodontist appointment which are always scheduled when parents cannot take them.
It's all going by so fast. Next year, Lena will be a freshman in high school, Booker a junior and Noah in his last year of elementary school. We enjoy the time we spend with them, even though the older ones are usually buried in their phones and not in the mood for conversation. Our daughters and sons-in-law often thank us for making it possible for them to fulfill their work and other obligations, something we are happy to do, as it means time with our grandchildren.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.