I can color the gray, take Tylenol for the joint aches and I can arm myself with some pretty cool songs, stories and games, but the truth is, after a few hours of serious play time with the grand kids, it's apparent. . . the old gray mare really ain't what she used to be many long years ago. . .
I remember the games I played with my kids when they were young. Especially my oldest son, Tom who, having no siblings old enough to provide any suitable entertainment, turned to Mom to be Wonder Woman to his Super Man. We'd tie receiving blankets around our necks and "fly" around the house, vanquishing evil and devouring all manner of healthy treats to maintain our super powers. Sometimes I'd try to pull a spiritual sneaky--inviting him to be Moses with a magic staff that would turn into a snake and scare the bad guys away! That worked great for a while until he discovered that no one else thought being Moses was "cool".
Tom and I are in Utah visiting that son's family right now, and to celebrate our grandson's fifth birthday, Tommy IV wanted a "Spy Party". My daughter-in-law, Krista, and I went searching the stores for spy-type items for the gift bags. Following the party, after enduring the noise created by thirty-four whistle-blowers, we realized a great truth--whistles are of the devil.
Two days after the party, Tommy wanted to actually BE a spy. So we went downstairs to play and I discovered another truth--I can no longer be his horsey, or wrestle or crawl around like GI Jo--without the aid of analgesics.
My son stayed home from work today, inviting us all to go and play at the Splash Park. (Can you hear the sound of my tentative swallow?) "Can I go like this?" I ask as I display my Lane Bryant ensemble. "Go put your suit on. It's a great day outside!" he replies with typical boyish enthusiasm. My smile saddens as I try to explain to him that for the good of all humanity, I'll pass on donning the swim suit.
While he and the kids were out, I tried climbing upon the platform bed attached to their two-level playhouse (my daughter-in-law created all this amazing stuff), so I could straighten the covers. I rolled flat out onto the floor. I'll probably be in traction by evening, but I have to say I should have earned at least a 6.9 on the Olympic Diving Scale. More analgesics.
I am a great story teller and I can sing about 59 silly songs. I'm still pretty good at make believe and I now actually look forward to the next installment of Dora or Franklin, so I've still got some tricks up my sleeve, but I'm not that same flying mommy of days past.
Luckily, my grand children's mommy is. She plays like a teenager with them, but she's expecting right now so she can't wrestle like she usually does. But once that baby is born she'll be back in full form and grandma will be able to return to her rocker and wait with my book and my remote for the quiet shift to begin.
My daughter Amanda and her husband Nick are expecting their first baby in a few months. I know they, and my unmarried sons, look at my husband and me and wonder if we'll still have any steam left when their children are ready to play horsey and super heroes with us.
We think about it a lot too. In truth, each of our kids grew up in a slightly modified family. Tommy enjoyed the world of childhood magic and pretend the longest and probably had the best and greatest percentage of my undivided attention, while our youngest child, Josh, grew up the fastest, leaving mom's side earliest to chase after his siblings. Amanda and Adam, the middle children, probably each had a successively shorter childhood as they too followed Tom's lead.
Likewise, I'm sure each grandchild will know us differently. I hope we'll be able to play hard with all our grandchildren. We might be easier to catch in a game of tag by then, and we might have to modify our entertainment somewhat. And of course, we'll be keeping our bottle of Tylenol a little closer each year.