I began working at age nine. It’s a long story that I won’t bore you with, but suffice it to say, I didn’t have much of a childhood. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, per se; it was just the way cards were dealt for me. I use to have regrets about it, but I got over those long ago. However, I did wonder exactly what I had missed. I don’t think about that anymore because I’m experiencing my childhood now through the eyes of my grandson.
Since my husband was a career military non-commissioned officer, we never had a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong, we had enough; but we could never have been considered more than lower middle class. That was fine with us because neither my husband nor I knew any other way of life. Like many parents, however, we wanted more for our children. For that reason, I worked. That meant that I lost out on a lot of my own children’s lives. I deceived myself that it really didn’t matter because the time we spent together was “quality” time; even if it wasn’t quantity, and I could provide my children with the things that they wanted. Okay, I’ll admit to making a major mistake on that one but my intentions were honest enough. If I had it to do over again, blah, blah, blah; the fact is I don’t and I can’t. Still, not one to hold life long grudges, my daughter was kind enough to let me be a major part of her son’s life. Nothing has brought me more joy!
My husband and I try to watch Josh once a week to let our daughter and her husband have a date night. We started this when Josh was just a tiny thing, but even then he seemed to enjoy his time with his Nana. We did – – and still do – – the silliest things. We play hide and seek, roll around on the floor, have pillow fights, go to the playground, and watch movies and eat popcorn. I try to have a surprise gift for Josh whenever he comes to visit. It is never anything big. It is usually something quite small. Sometimes it is a used movie we purchased at the local video store. Sometimes it is just a bag of M&M’s. The truth is, he doesn’t care. Everything thrills him and everything fascinates him. Most importantly, all he seems to really care about is that is that he gets to play with me. His eyes light up and sparkle like diamonds when he asks to play his current favorite game: Nana’s Sneak Attack. It’s a really silly game I invented one day when he wasn’t feeling up to par and needed to be distracted from the pain of his earache. I started humming and singing “la, la, la, la, la” and then out of the blue saying “sneak attack” and tickling him. He loves that game and I love the way he looks when he asks to play it with me.
One day, as we were playing, I realized something: I have finally experienced my childhood. I can find a place to hide in the smallest apartment. I can swing high in a swing. I can blow bubbles the size of a bowling ball, and I have even managed to eat the most disgusting candy known to man – – Sponge Bob Squarepants’ Crabby Patties. At age 56, I’m having a ball finally being a little girl. The bonus I get is even better: I can make my grandson smile in a manner that seems to come from the tip of his toes to the tip of his nose. Who can ask for anything more?