Being a parent to a toddler is not something I thought I'd be doing at 61. The reality of this recent role hits me, most notably, around 2 a.m. on the occasional mornings my 16-month-old grandson wakes up yelling "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom." (My three grandchildren, Tilleigh, 7; Evie, 3, and William, 16 months, call me "Mom.")
Whether it's from a stuffy nose or a bad dream, the little fellow's sweet cries come across loud and clear through the baby monitor on the nightstand next to my side of the bed. It's funny, despite the fact that it awakens my husband and I from a deep sleep, neither of us are annoyed. In fact, we always chuckle. Hearing "Mom" repeated over and over from the mouth of a baby is endearing.
William moved in with us after my son was granted custody last September, and it wasn't long before William and I bonded as much as a baby and adult can. I always say that I love my grandchildren as though I gave birth to them. And it's the absolute truth. These three little people are my world.
Still, it can be exhausting, especially when you're taking care of a toddler. They never stop. It's like watching a ball being knocked around in a pinball machine.
And he's learning to climb. While it's fun to watch him develop new skills, I have to be prepared, at all times, to dive across a room to cushion a fall. In other words, the little kid is getting me in shape. I'm constantly lifting his 28-pound frame, bending over to pick him up, playing in the floor, etc.
So, for you younger readers, if you think being a grandparent means sitting in a rocking chair and watching reruns of "Matlock," think again. I've been more active in the last seven years since Tilleigh's birth than I've been since my own kids were growing up. And, just FYI, my favorite show is "Yo Gabba Gabba" (great music).
Let me tell, you, folks. I don't mind being 61. I'm having a blast.
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...