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Lessons for Grandparents

By Joe Rector

My daughter Lacey and her family moved this week. After a few years in a wonderful little house in Bellevue, just outside Nashville, they bought a house in Hendersonville. It offers much more space so that they don’t trip over each other or struggle to find space to put things. It also has a second master bedroom, something that they might regret having if grandparents visit too frequently.

Amy and I have played doting grandparents this week as Madden came to visit so that his parents could move all their worldly belongings. The boy returns home on Wednesday and will have plenty of fun loading his new room with his “stuff.” It’s during these few days that Madden has visited that I’ve realized some things.

First, a six-year-old boy has more energy than I do. Madden woke up every morning ready to “do something.” He came to our bedroom to wake us. After we dragged our weary bodies out of the bed, he announced that he was bored. Over the course of the week, he rarely tuckered out, and when a lull occurred, it was soon followed by a request for one of us to play with him.

A young boy has an imagination with no limits. At one time or another, Madden was a dragon, a shark, the boy from “The Jungle Book,” and a character running from a monster (me). In-depth story lines came with each character, and rules of games played changed as Madden’s need to be the winner intensified. I marveled at his ability to come up with plots for games and what each of us would do.

I’m reminded that children will stay in a pool all day long. Madden wasted no time; he jumped out of the car, changed into his swim suit, and got into the pool. After three days of water, he began to complain that his neck hurt. It was the result of getting too much sun that slightly reddened the area. Only begrudgingly did he retreat to the house.

Inside, the boy took command of the television. My “Judge Judy” viewing ended for the duration of Madden’s stay. Instead of our favorite programs, our grandson viewed such things as “Ninja Turtles.” What most amazed me was how he could watch the same episodes over and over. He sat in front of the viewing of “The Jungle Book” no fewer than half a dozen times.

Not all was blue skies and smiles. Like all little ones, sometimes Madden bowed his back and pouted over things we asked of him. He wrinkled his brow, ducked his head, and turned from us. I never liked that when my children did such things, but I learned that with a little time, Madden would be fine. He quickly forgot what upset him and returned to being happy.

Madden woke us up each morning in a special way. His little feet slapped the floor in the hallway, and then he would enter our bedroom. He’d stand still and wait for us to look at him and speak. Then he’d say “good morning” with an angelic voice and crawl into our bed for just a few minutes of snuggle time. That brought back wonderful memories of two little ones who are now adults with active lives.

On Wednesday, Madden left Knoxville to find a new house and bedroom and neighborhood waiting for him. His parents will need some time to recover from moving their stuff, but before long, they’ll all be settled in and enjoying the extra space. Back in Knoxville, Amy and I are going to sleep in a couple of days to recover from the expenditure of energy. The house will be a little too quiet for a while. All in all, having Madden at our home brought back some of the magic that comes with children. It also left me missing those early years with Lacey and Dallas.

 

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