These are my parents, Jack and Cindy. They have committed to full-time, live-in, grandparenting for the next two winters. Before we got the news about the twins, my parents were looking at properties in Arizona. They had plans to travel throughout the Southwest to escape the Minnesota winters, and reap the benefits of an early empty nesting period. Spa treatments and alcoholic beverages at their leisure, life was going to get real, real good and real, real kid-free.
But then I called and told them about the double whammy in my womb. Without hesitation, they were in. Not only were they ready to help, but the offer was to live with us if we found a suitable space, and help from morning through...well morning (because who's going to sleep?).
Here they are at 53, so young really, and sacrificing a hard-earned easy-living. I know lots of their peers have called them crazy. And I'm sure they have second thoughts all the time. "What are we doing? Why are we doing this? These kids are not our responsibility anymore, why did we pass up that bungalow next to a pool for dirty diapers (times 3!) and butt-wiping (times 4!)? It's 53 degrees and raining in Durham, North Carolina today but it's 80 degrees and sunny in Arizona, WHY are we here?!"
Maybe they don't have answers to those questions at times, but sometimes I make guesses. First off, because they love me and us, immeasurably. They never expected me to live so far away from family and they didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to have a relationship with their grandchildren. They've admitted that sometimes, due to their age and other factors, parenting was something they survived rather than did intentionally. But wow have they made up for those moments in how they grandparent (Shawn, you know they'll do the same for you!). They pour love on our kids with reckless abandon, which is a gift I appreciate everyday, but don't acknowledge as often as I should.
That big, selfless act of love isn't unique to them. This whole situation isn't really either (the big picture of it all). My parents had me at 17. At that point their parents were around 38 years of age, which seems plain nuts now that I'm in my thirties. After the initial shock and anger of it all, which each of them had at varying degrees, my grandparents were in. I remember them as a huge part of my life. They loved me and my brother so well and helped my parent's marriage survive despite many hardships.
It seems to be in our makeup, this sacrificial grandparenting thing. Hopefully I'll get a shot at it down the road (no pressure kiddos...but seriously, I want to be a semi-young grandma so after you get your advanced degrees, start working on it, ok?).
Sometimes I fear that the endless demands on their attention by Evy, Levi and eventually the twins will drive them West. I'll wake up one day to an empty guest room but for a note that says "Good Luck with all of that!"
But then I remember who they are and where they come from.
They're all in. And we couldn't be more thankful for them.
My dad, Jack (a.k.a. Grandpa Jackhammer) was putting some pressure on me to get a photo feature on this blog. I guess he felt a little cheated after my mom got a whole blog post dedicated to her here. I know he was kidding (partially) but it's true that he does deserve a tribute. Grandpa Jack brings the party in this household. When both of my kids see him, their eyes light up and they can't help but laugh. He doesn't even need to say anything, they just start cracking up. He's a big kid and always has been. We love him and his silliness, even if it does get the kiddos in trouble with their mama once in a while.