Grandparents, In-Laws (Gratitude: Day 17)

Today I am grateful for my in-laws, the kids' grandparents. My mother-in-law has a special gift for recognizing the importance of R and I taking a break from the kids from time to time. So this weekend, she offered to pick the kids up on Friday afternoon and keep them for us until Sunday afternoon when we come up for an early Thanksgiving dinner.

I appreciate taking a break, but what makes it really feel like a break is that my kids adore their grandparents. They love staying at the lake and eating blueberry pancakes for every meal and wearing pajamas all day while they watch Spongebob Squarepants (Nina's house, Nina's rules). They love having their grandparents' undivided attention and rarely, if ever, hearing the word "no." 

From the time the kids leave to the time we pick them up, I don't have to worry whether they are having a good time or if they are missing me. I already know the answers – yes and no, respectively. No mommy guilt over taking a break, because they are on their own break from me. 

I could write thousands and thousands of words about my in-laws and the things they do for us and how grateful we are and it still would not scratch the surface. Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words, like this picture of A when her Nina arrived at the house to pick her up one day – 

That pure joy, love and adoration? That is how we all feel about the kids' grandparents. Sometimes two year olds are just so much better at expressing things than the rest of us.

Grandparents (Gratitude – Day Three)

This one should have been yesterday, but being a little bit behind is pretty standard for me. I found myself looking at the date – November 2 – feeling like I was missing something all day. I HATE that feeling. But I am in my thirties. There are countless dates that were important for one year in time – bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers – and then not again.

Turns out, November 2 is not one of those days that was only important for one year. My Pepere passed away on November 2, 2001. I feel so old when I say things like this, but I will say it anyway – I cannot believe it has been eleven years. I cannot believe all the life I have lived – the best parts of my life – in those eleven years.

So today I am grateful for the opportunity to pause and reflect and miss my Pepere. And while I'm at it, my Memere, Grampy and Grammy. I feel honored to have known three of them for my entire childhood, when I really needed them. I mean that figuratively and literally. I was such a horrific baby that I am pretty sure without my Memere and Pepere driving 2 hours one way almost every day in the early days to give my mom a break, we would not have made it.

And while my Pepere was never very talkative, I think "I love you so much I will walk around this house in circles for hours on end holding you while you cry until you finally fall asleep" says a lot more than words ever could.

Or my Memere, who would cook separate breakfasts for my sister and I like a short order cook and wait on us hand and foot and take us to Stuart's for a special toy at the end of every visit. That is love.

Lastly, I am endlessly grateful that out of 14 grandchildren, I am the only one who got to dance with my Grampy on my wedding day. It was one of the highlights of my life.

I am grateful for these people who raised my parents and helped make us all who we have ended up to be. And while I would love to have had more time with all of them, it has always been comforting to know that when each of them passed I had nothing I felt I needed to say. They knew how much I loved them, and I hope they were and are proud of the mama I have turned out to be because of the things they taught me.

November 2 – a day for remembering my Pepere. (Writing it down. In my calendar. The iPhone one, so I really can't forget.)