I thought when I retired I would enjoy traveling, relaxing and doing things I couldn’t do while I was working. Instead, my days and nights are filled with unexpected interruptions. Four years ago I elected to retire early and move in with my daughter and her husband. As managers in retail, their hours are erratic, never knowing what time they will be home.
In today’s society grandparents are needed to babysit, either full-time or part-time. I had many concerns regarding this major undertaking. Raising my own children had its many ups and downs. I knew helping to raise my grandchildren was not going to be any different. Was I ready emotionally and physically to handle the job?
I prayed. God said, “Yes.”
My basic duties as nanny involve getting the children ready for school, picking them up after school, preparing their supper, and watching them until their parents come home. During the day I have a few hours to spend on myself, such as going to the YMCA. I take care of the house, wash clothes and buy groceries. In exchange I no longer have to worry about house payments or utility bills.
Since both parents work on the weekends, I have the privilege of taking my grandchildren to church. On the way to school, we pray for the family to have a blessed day. Hearing a four- year-old praying brings a smile to me and to God. I know this is one of the reasons God has me here.
One night when I was in the kitchen with my daughter, she said, “Mom, remember how Samara was having difficulty sleeping because of nightmares. The other day, Samara told me, ‘I am no longer afraid to go to sleep. I have Jesus in my heart.’”
I admit that my body is not youthful anymore. I remember when Samara was just a baby; I would change her diaper on the living room floor. When finished I would crawl to the couch in order to have leverage to get to a standing position.
Four- year-olds talk non-stop with no turn-off button. “Nana, can I have a drink….Nana, I need to go to the bathroom….Nana, I’m hungry…” And how many times do I have to read Green Eggs and Ham?
Grandparents in the average scenario can spoil the grandchildren. When they have had enough, they can send the children home to their parents. If Samara and Javon have stretched my nerves to the limit, I am unable to retreat to my own home. I am a full-time “nanny”. But then I remember I am here for a reason. With all its ups and downs, I am the stabilizing factor in my grandchildren’s lives. It is a privilege to be able to invest in their upbringing.
Claudette Miller, a retired widow, enjoys investing in her grandchildren’s lives and freelance writing. She is author of A Moment in Time with God, a devotional published December 2010. www.amomentintimewithgod.webs.com