Author: Nancy Wade
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6
As a busy single mother in the 1990’s, I was fortunate to live close to my own mother who had been widowed ten years earlier. Together, she and I cobbled together a plan to raise my two children. I would drive the kids to school and then go on to work. As often as possible, I would help in their classrooms or chaperone their field trips. Often, Mom would pick them up from school or deliver them to soccer practice.
And yet the demands of my full-time job, as well as attending college part-time, left me little down time. After I picked up the kids up from their Grandma’s house, I would head home to make dinner, supervise homework, and get them to bed at a reasonable time. It seemed my days were regimented by necessity. Weekends were spent doing laundry or catching up with friends. I had very little time for myself or for spending time with my Mom.
Once in a while, Mom would call and ask if she could drop by. “Just for 20 minutes,” she would tell me and it was easy to detect the wistfulness in her voice. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I sometimes rolled my eyes at her request. Didn’t she know how busy I was? Couldn’t she tell I was exhausted half the time, trying to keep all the proverbial balls in the air?
And I’m afraid I often brushed off her requests or didn’t fully hear what she was trying to say to me.
It took me decades – until I became a grandparent to two small boys – that I began to understand Mom’s genuine desire to spend time with me and my kids. It was such a simple request, really. She wanted some time to enjoy her family. She wanted to listen to our interactions, to laugh at some of the small moments that made up our lives, to feel included.
My grandsons are now 9 and 6 and this Fall, they have been playing soccer. I have been lucky enough to be able to spend time watching them play and it has brought me great joy. To sit next to my now-grown son, exchanging small talk and observations about the game has meant more to me than he will ever know.
On one recent Saturday, we found ourselves with an hour or so in between the two boys’ games and so we headed back to their house for a quick bite of lunch. The boys brought their white Lab puppy, Aspen, in from outside and gave her toys to play with. The younger boy brought me a baseball hat with a small tear in it. “Aspen ripped my hat,” he said. Can you fix it for me?” he asked. I assured him that I would mend the hat and return it to him soon. The boys excitedly showed me a few videos of their current favorite song – Old Town Road – and my son told me about his volunteer work at a recent beer festival. Sitting there, I felt included and content.
It’s quite possible that my son and his wife roll their eyes when I ask to spend a little time with them; after all, they are busy with work and soccer schedules, their kids’ friends’ birthday parties and getting laundry done. But I persist in asking. Whenever I am near their house, I will call and say, “Can I stop by? I only need 20 minutes.”