This past year I became a mom. It started as a joke last summer. I was home from college, unemployed, and spending my days scrubbing the house and cooking elaborate meals. My mom began referring to me as her “stay-at home mom.”
Then suddenly in December I became a mom on a whole new level. Miss that birth announcement? Well my new bundle of joy was not very new at all, she is 87, confused, and loves murder mysteries.
Parenting my grandmother is not without its challenges. I get up in the morning, sit with her while she has breakfast, get her shows on, run around getting ready, empty the dishwasher, eat, throw something in the crock pot and go to work. Then I get home from work, empty the dishwasher, cook, run errands, throw in some laundry, entertain her, get her ready for bed, empty the dishwasher, attempt to do something else, and finally sleep. For one little lady she keeps me very busy and creates an awful lot of dishes.
Some days she is in a good mood, others she is crabby and doesn’t want to eat or do anything besides watch TV. Some days she knows what happened during the day, others she has no idea, but most of the time I can get her to smile.
I know a few things. One is that she is declining. She is not suddenly going to get her memory back. Her bones are not going to increase in density. But one of the other things I know is that she is fun and that I love making her smile. She is fun to watch Monk with (even when I have seen every episode), she is cute when she eats her cookies and Milkyways and I genuinely enjoy tucking her at night. In the end she makes my lack of free time and my new responsibilities worth it.
People can teach you many different things in many different ways. In these past few months my grandma has taught me selflessness, hard work, love and joy. She didn’t necessarily teach them in traditional ways that I would have expected, but she taught them to me nevertheless. I have no idea what will happen down the road with her, but I know that these lessons will stick with me. She has given me the confidence to take care of another person and if I ever have my own children one day, I can rest assured that I have already had a trail run.