My Plum started kindergarten last week and left me home to look at cars and transformers and Lego and potential mud piles all by myself. He stepped right onto the bus and didn’t have the decency to look back and cry for me. He told me that I could play with his toys while he is gone, little comfort. His scooter sits idle, the dogs mope about. Dishes are always done, laundry is caught up, I wander about the house, annoyed at the quiet. Then my phone rings and his mama is asking another question about school lunches. She is terrified he won’t eat there, what if he forgets the ridiculous 5 digit number he has been assigned to access his account. Will they really send him each day to the nurse to get his dairy pill? I am more concerned about him going to the bathroom, this boy who freely pees outside my home behind a bush, delighting in how far his stream goes. Will he actually raise his hand in front of everyone and ask to go into the little room in the same classroom? What about all those other savages, have they been taught to wash their hands? I get the irony, don’t judge. Mama and I commiserate on the unjustness of taking our little prince away to an environment neither of us can control. This is good.
Mama came to us about 6 weeks into her pregnancy, leaving behind my Arrow and the world of addiction and chaos to live with people she hardly knew. She had nothing including weight on her body. We fed her, we loved her, we got her into school. Plum was born into our household and has been in and out all of his just shy of 6 years.When mama was struggling, she came back. Her room was put back together, his never taken apart. Tumultuous days hours minutes during these years finally resulted in trips through the legal system to establish permanency for our boy. Through it all, mama has grown from the unsure teenager to a young woman who fully fits into her role. I have slowly been eased out of granMother and back into just gran. This is good.
Second week of school now and some of the newness is starting to fade. I voluntarily gave up our weekday overnights to keep Plum in a nightly routine, just for the first month. We agreed that coming for a whole family dinner one evening a week could replace this and we would keep our weekends. It all made sense to us, adults with thoughts of bedtimes and consistency. It made sense until my Plum threw a tantrum last night like I haven’t seen since I had to let him go years ago and he tried to climb back through the windows on the front porch to avoid returning to his mama’s. I knew it was wrong then but was helpless to stop it. I know it is right now but hate the look that he gave me, the soul shattering look as he drove away, tears rolling, sobs echoing, restrained by a carseat that was carrying him away from his granMother. He wanted me and I wanted him but I used my most firm voice and stated we would absolutely not have this behavior and besides I would see him tomorrow. He rode away with his mama and I know it was good.
Mama called me after he went to sleep, about ten minutes later, to see if he needed $.50 for milk if he took his lunch or would they take off of his account. Mama called me because she needs me also, maybe because she wanted to make sure I was okay after letting go of our boy. Transitioning to being just a gran is hard, as hard as putting this child on a bus. I am trusting teachers and lunch ladies and bus drivers all to see that smile, those eyes, to see his heart and just know he is one incredible kid. I want them to know his story and to not know it, for him to have a fresh start. He is a regular kindergartner with a mama and a step-daddy, a new sibling on the way. I know mama is with me on all this, finally we are together. I will always be his number two and need to let mama be number one. Even when he looks at me like that. I look back with eyes that tell him it is okay, we trust mama also. Gran will see him tomorrow and we will play cars.
One thought on “Becoming Just Gran”
Hi Lisa. Know that the Lunch Aides and Recess Aides (which is what I do) love the kids and want them to succeed. To become independent little people. We love to see their smiles everyday, we wipe tears, give hugs freely and just support them daily as they need it. We know they are someones little prince or princess. I love and hate the first weeks of school. I love seeing my little kindergartners each day, but hate to be the one enforcing new rules and routines on them. Most adjust quickly with little or no tears. Those who struggle get a little extra attention from those of us who are mainly moms ourselves. I hope the parents of those little ones entrusted to my care each day for that one hour know that I love their children like my own and watch over them when moms and dads and Grans can’t. Deep breath Gran, we’ve got this. Hugs dear friend. Debbie