Monday, February 16, 2009

Slowing Down with the Grandparents

Do you ever have visitors from out of town who make you slow down and take life at a different pace? In our family, my kids are blessed with 6 grandparents and two great-grandparents. Their visits are glimpses into a different way of life -- and a different culture -- that I'm really learning to appreciate.

The 4 grandparents who live in Canada come to visit once or twice a year. When they're here, I downshift into low gear and live life at about half my usual speed. At first, it's a hard adjustment. I find myself flying through the house practically knocking them down in my rush to get somewhere. I have to stop myself from yelling, "Come on, we've got to go! My hair's on fire!" Once I get used to it though, we all coast along in the slow lane together and just relax.

Some days, we do a whole lot of nothing. Other days, we rouse them out of bed and make them go on long family excursions. But when we're on those excursions, we eat leisurely lunches, stop for coffee, take lots of pictures and never hurry. When we're at home, I'm amazed (and sometimes jealous) by their ability to sit still, read the paper, sip a glass of wine and shoot the breeze.

My frame of reference is all wrong at first too. When Grandpa says "I had my eyes done", I think: "Wow -- laser eye surgery!" Then I realize he means cataracts. When we decide to go for a walk before picking the kids up at school, I realize the GP's don't want to walk at my "Let's-burn-as-many-calories-as-we-can" pace and that I need to re-think how many things we can cram in before the next thing on our schedule.

All of the grandparents in our lives are GREAT with the kids, and I feel truly blessed when I see how much they love each other. They're also very patient with me and have learned to try to get out of my way when my hair is on fire. And I've learned to ratchet things down -- at least for a little while -- and just enjoy life in the slow lane.


Robyn said...

My son is blessed with lots of grandparents and three great-grandmas. All of his elders are in different stages of health (from extremely active to walkers and wheelchairs). It's amazing how quickly my son adapts his energy level to theirs -- walking much slowers with my Grandma and her walker, kissing his father's Grandma on the hand (she can't speak & is confined to bed) to running full speed with my uber-healthy dad. I think he is so blessed to have the wisdom and relationships with so many elders in our family.

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