I have four grandchildren. Three came along when I was in my mid to late forties. The fourth one arrived last year when I was 60. It is completely different for me being a grandmother in my 60’s as opposed to my 40’s. I think I have come into my own and am able to appreciate my newest grandson’s growth with a steadiness and relaxed point of view. I still had more growth, more emotional work to do when I was in my forties. Maybe being a grandmother in my forties is too young like being a mother in my late teens and early twenties.
Mike and I take care of Gavin who just turned one year this September three days a week. Since Mike took an early retirement and I am not working outside the home, on those three days, we devote our time to him.
What I am aware of taking care of Gavin is his sweet innocence, insatiable curiosity, unwavering trust, boundless energy, immense capacity for joy and super strong self-esteem. I can’t help wondering where I would be today had I received half of the love and attention growing up that is showered on Gavin by those who love him. Something tells me Gavin is giving me a gift here. I can feel it.
I think Gavin is teaching me that I needed to go through what I did while growing up to learn to trust after my innocence was exploited, to learn love after being abandoned and treated with hatred, to find joy and peace after living with violence and cruelty and to regain a healthy self-esteem after having my sense of self trampled on. I think finding innocence, love, joy, peace and self-esteem after having them stolen adds a new dimension. Kind of like experiencing warmth after having been cold or sense of relief after having a bad scare or experiencing spring after a long hard winter.
I am not sure that it is in everyone’s divine plan to need to experience a traumatic childhood or that it is necessarily everyone’s divine path. I do know that it is/was my path because it is/was the one I lived. I believe that Gavin’s path will be far different and that hopefully my learning what I needed to learn will be passed down and he can move forward to other life lessons that don’t require so much suffering.
My gift from Gavin is to see and experience vicariously what being shown love at an early age looks like, the effect it has on the young child. And by witnessing this, I feel a deepening of my recovered innocence, love, joy, peace and almost self-esteem. I “get” my lessons instead of understanding them. I have what Oprah Winfrey calls an Aha! moment.
Let me share with you the wonder of Gavin. Gavin wants to experience it all. When we take him on outings like to story time at the library, shopping, out to eat or just for a walk in the stroller he approaches the time with enthusiasm. I have a little video I took of Gavin when we went out to eat at Famous Dave’s. He loved the atmosphere with the pictures and objects on the wall. He was sociable to all who stopped by to admire his unique cuteness. He moved to the jazzy music and he was captivated with the crayons and paper he was given by the host. This is Gavin experiencing life unencumbered.