Yesterday morning, I was ready to exercise. Truthfully. I was fully dressed and in my home gym. Then the phone buzzed. The screen indicated Jennie was trying to FaceTime with me. I smiled and my heart rate rose. An early-morning call meant I was going to have “breakfast with Ryan.” I love these moments!! Some activities simply have a higher priority than others. The workout would wait.
His smiling face greeted me, “Hi, Baba.” Wide-eyed, I smiled back, “Hi, Ryan.” To my amazement, he launched into some sort of discussion. And though I didn’t understand most of it, I certainly picked up on “Baba’s house,” “basement,” and a few other words. He insisted I give the dogs a treat. I did. He wanted me to show him the oven in my kitchen. Don’t know why, but I did. He wanted to see the Polaris (the “animal”) crawling along the bottom of the swimming pool. I willingly did that too. At the same time, he was ordering pancakes and fruit from Mama.
With so much still “on pause” and uncertain in our world, it’s refreshing to watch a toddler experience new things and make memories. Ryan’s explored his hometown, visited with family, and even traveled a bit. He also started a Jewish preschool, where he’s demonstrated an interest in learning and making friends. His vocabulary has grown tremendously and it’s wonderful to see his evolution physically, socially, academically, and emotionally too.
I am mesmerized by this two-and-a-half-year-old. It’s so funny to see him take over and work a room. He makes demands and others – within reason – comply. More than that, it’s cool to see his developing personality. His facial expressions show his emotions, so there are no doubts when he’s happy, sad, hurt, or surprised. But it’s the single-eyebrow-raise and little smirk that really get me. He knows when he’s testing, plotting, teasing, and even manipulating. His first-born, Type-A traits already are apparent…a lot like those of his father.
My brother once asked, “People talk about the feelings of being a grandparent. Is it true what they say?” “Yes,” I replied, “it’s true.” He continued. “So, what is it about exactly?” I shared that, for me, it’s not about love and fun without responsibility. Sure…it’s great to babysit and spoil grandchildren, then hand them back to their parents. But for me, there’s an overwhelming sense of connectedness with my parents’, grandparents’, children’s, and the next generations. I am in the center with the opportunity to see the world as it was and is, yet through the eyes of what could be. Moreover, I recognize the chance and obligation to influence my grandchildren’s perceptions and behaviors through a mixed infusion of experience, wisdom, and love. It’s an awesome responsibility and privilege.
Being in the lives of Ryan and Evan is like a drug. I cannot get enough of them. And the high I feel is way better than a surge of exercise-induced endorphins. Today I’ll hit the gym.