Grandchildren are the apple of a grandparent's eye.
Whoever said, "If I had known it was so much fun to have grandchildren, I would have had them first," was right on the mark.
Most of the time a grandparent is one step removed from discipline, bath time, school work and arguing with a teenager about what they want to wear.
Today, it's quite common for grandparents to have custody of their grandchildren. They deserve heaps of respect in my book because as we grow older, our nerves get more and more tender to noise and activity coming at us.
Toby and I have been blessed with 18 grandchildren, both by birth and born of our hearts (stepchildren), but they are all the same to us — wonderful. They make us laugh with their innocent minds when they are small. What comes to their thoughts, comes out of their mouths, unadulterated and most often, funny.
Our Quinnie was about 6 when he last visited the North Country from Colorado. A very active child, he was running through his Uncle Randy's house in Brushton, when Uncle Randy told him to slow down or he was going to have to sit quietly. Quinnie looked at him, with sparkling blue eyes, blond hair, arms bent to show his muscles, and said, "You want a piece of this?" Randy was so surprised by the kid that he had a hard time not to laugh.
When grandson Jesse was about 3, his family stayed with us in our mother-in-law's apartment, which is separated by a slatted door. He would wake up during the night, take his blankie and stand at the door to our kitchen and whisper, "Open the door." When nobody heard him, he'd say a little louder, "Open the door." If still no response, the third time was a very loud, "OPEN THE DOOR." My husband, the night owl watching television in the living room, would bring him into the living room, and both would fall asleep in the recliner.
Jesse had a head covered with blond curls and what I called "sweet cheeks" because they were so pudgy and kissy, electric blue eyes and a smile hard to resist. He's nearly 18 now, 6-foot-3-inches tall and still very sweet and kind. He's a gentle giant, but if he tells somebody to open the door now, believe me, they listen the first time!
Our Kayla was another child with a beautiful smile and quick wit at 5 years old. Her catch phrase, when asked to do anything she didn't want to do, was, "You're making me tired," normally delivered with a big sigh, drooping of the shoulders and arms, and a quick sit-down on the floor. She's married now with a daughter of her own. Cuteness must run in the blood because her daughter has delivered some one-liners that made us know she is Kayla's daughter.
Gestures from kids can sometimes substitute for words and be just as funny. Hannah was the type of child who, when told to come for lunch, would flash those big brown eyes at you and run the other way. Her sister, Emily, was completely different. Tell Emily to come and do anything, and she would hop and skip over, with a smile.
Their personalities, however, to me, have equipped them for their chosen career fields: Emily just earned a bachelor's degree from College of St. Rose in music education. You need patience and smiles with kids. Hannah (and her husband, Chris) just earned their juris doctorate degrees from Hofstra Law School on Long Island. Staying one step ahead of everything is a good trait in a lawyer, along with having a mind of your own.
I could go on with some cute saying or event from every one of our grandchildren's lives because we've been blessed to spend time with them. Guess that's a grandparent's job, to enjoy the grandchildren, when possible.
If grandchildren live away or are estranged, be Grammy or Grampa, MeMe or Papa to a child who doesn't have grandparents. It's time you will never regret. It's a legacy that will live on long after we old folks turn to dust.
One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.
Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.