Time Enough to be a Grandma

At Forty Five BabyRecently I was introduced to my grandson Kellan Kenichi Smith and I was reminded that “We have all the time in the world, Time enough for life, To unfold all the precious things, Love has in store (Louis Armstrong “All the Time in the World”).

I imagined our idyllic relationship where I introduced him to the wonders of the world, guided his progress as he learned to walk, read, think and wonder and spoiled him rotten. I envisioned the smile on his face when he saw me and the joyous way he would wave goodbye to his parents as they left him in my loving care.

So far, I haven’t seen anything in his first six weeks of life that leads me to believe any of my delusional dreams are likely to come true. For one thing, I am only allowed supervised visits. My every interaction is carefully scrutinized by my son and warnings such as “Watch his head!” and “His neck! His neck!” are issued too frequently for my liking.

I ponder why. I believe my son must realize I raised him successfully since he is actually standing beside me, a father himself. I don’t remember him in danger, but it is true, I often let him, as a small child, outsmart me at peek-a-boo and other games and maybe he still believes I am somewhat dimwitted.

I have also been warned that babysitting won’t be starting for at least six months. I look at Kellan’s parents and wonder if I could outrun them. Probably not. Christopher, my son, often reminds me that things are done differently now. Apparently I gave birth and raised him in the middle ages, or the dark ages……. or maybe it was in prehistoric times.

I find myself defensive. Am I really that ancient and irrelevant now? Are things really that different? I reassure myself by watching Christopher as he fathers his son. He is a fabulous father and parent with incredibly strong instincts that he has learned from his own father, who was a hands on and devoted Dad.

As a teacher, I believe in the power or reading so I urged him to read to Kellan before he was born. I told him it was important that Kellan hears his voice and that he is introduced to literature. Christopher read The Hobbit to his son, a book that is a favorite of us both and an important bond between us. That he has extended that bond to his son touches me deeply. I still believe that fundamentally everything is the same, it is only the minor details that have changed. He has learned from both of us and we are influencing the present from the oh so distant prehistoric past.

Meeting My Grandson
Meeting My Grandson

I didn’t meet Kellan until he was five weeks old and I was overwhelmed with excitement. My mother met him first and raved about how sweet he was and how calm and aware. Maybe I built the moment up in my mind, but it was anti-climatic that he slept through our first meeting. And our second, and third, and fourth……. I was told I couldn’t poke him AND he needs his sleep. I was told and told and told to be patient. I’m not good at patient. I never have been. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see him smile, watch him crawl and hear him call me Ga Ga (or something like that). I can’t wait to put my cunning plan to lure him into Grandma’s world into action.

In Grandma’s World

I have plans….. Aquarium, Science World, Stanley Park, swimming and ice skating. All the usual venues, but also horseback riding (on my bucket list), rides at Playland (no-one else will go with me), playing with robots (I teach robotics), museums and art galleries (no-one else will go with me), movies (I need someone to go see cartoons with again), and rowing in my rowboat on the lake (no-one else will go with me). I am confident Kellan will be less judgmental about my pastimes than my children. I can’t wait for us to be friends and I am glad we have all the time in the world for our relationship to grow.

Glenda Stewart-Smith
Glenda Stewart-Smith is Outside the Box Learning Commons’ Academic Director. She has a passion for using technology to integrate transformative experiences into existing subject areas to make for a richer learning experience. She received a MET degree (Masters in Educational Technology) from UBC in 2005 and was named an Apple Distinguished Educator for Canada (ADE) in 2008.