Savor the moments

Jim and I had three daughters in a short period of time. There are 16 months between the oldest and the middle daughters, 19 months between the middle and the youngest. Which means, obviously, our daughters are very close in age. In fact, for one month out of each year—roughly mid July to mid August—the girls' ages are consecutive.

Which also means, obviously, I was one very busy mama while raising them. I felt hurried and harried much of the time, and I rarely stopped to savor the sweetest and simplest of moments with my three girls, from their toddler to their teen years.

I'm trying to not make the same mistake as a grandma.

Things are pretty clear cut with Baby Mac because as an eight-month-old, what he wants, he pretty much needs...and gets. With three-and-a-half-year-old Bubby, though, it's different. His needs are met; his wants are up for negotiation. That's where my tack as a grandmother differs from the tack I took as a mother. When Bubby requests my participation, my attention, I do my best to stop the busy work and savor the moment. As long as his requests are reasonable, that is. And most reasonable he proved to be during my recent visit to the desert.

For example, "Gramma, can you play train with me?" was a reasonable request. So, despite not being one for typically enjoying sitting on the floor—and Baby Mac needing some attention, too—I busied Mac with some blocks, plopped down next to Bubby, and followed his lead of "You be Henry, Gramma, and I'll be Thomas." Moment savored.

Another instance: Bubby's bedtime routine typically features one bedtime story read. One night we finished the chosen book, and I stood from his bed to tuck him in, kiss him goodnight, and head out the door. "Can we please read this one, too?" Bubby pleaded, holding up a book. "It's soooo funny!" So I did, all the while savoring his snickers at "There Was A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow," savoring his sense of humor, savoring the moment.

When Bubby asked, "Gramma, can we build a fort?" I didn't hem and haw about the mess it would make. Instead, Bubby and I together built the fort to beat all forts, with tunnels and secret passages and cardboard boxes blocking out the light. Moment savored...and video captured of Bubby and Baby Mac savoring the fort again and again and again, with giggles galore as they chased one another through tunnels and more.

At snack time, Bubby wanted his snack in the fort. At naptime, he wanted the bedtime story read—to both him and Baby Mac—in the fort. Both requests filled. Easily. Both moments savored. Surely.

At the park, Bubby asked if I'd climb up the play structure and "play pirate" with him. Baby Mac slept in his stroller, within viewing distance, of course, as Bubby and I climbed and slid and shouted "Look out, Captain! They're after us!" again and again. Moment savored.

Most mornings of my visit, Bubby woke me with a gentle nudge on my knee—except for the first morning when he slammed open my bedroom door and shouted, "GRAMMA! It's morning time!" (My freakout at his announcement led to knee nudges going forward, I'm sure.) One day when I woke before him, Bubby watched me from the open bathroom door and said, "Gramma, after you're done brushing your teeth, will you start your day with me?" Request easily filled as that was my intent anyway. The sweet moment of his request, though, especially savored.

Requests of "Will you jump with me, Gramma?" brought leaps and bounds of joy each and every time we giggled and wiggled and waggled about on the trampoline—which was pretty much each and every time Bubby asked me to do so. And my request to him one night to lie quietly on the trampoline and look at the stars together was enthusiastically met with a resounding "Yes!" That grandson of mine, he truly gives as good as he gets. Moments savored—by both of us.

One of Bubby's favorite cartoons is Olivia, which begins with the inflation of a pirate ship bouncy house. Once, a discussion of bouncy houses ensued after the program began, and Bubby gushed about the most awesome of parties he was scheduled to soon attend. "It's gonna be so cool! There's gonna be a bouncy house and pizza!" he raved. "Do you want to come, Gramma? Maybe you can ask PawDad if you can come!"

This was one of Bubby's few unreasonable requests. Not because I wouldn't be in town at the time of the party or because I'm sure the guest of honor wasn't expecting grandmas to join in. No, I thought it unreasonable—and, more so, surprising—that Bubby naturally assumed I had to ask PawDad's permission to go to the party. My I-am-woman-hear-me-roar sensibilities wanted me to explain to Bubby that I don't need PawDad's permission to go to the party, that I didn't need his permission to do anything. Women, I considered telling my grandson, don't need permission from a man to do anything—we can do anything we choose.

What I chose to do, though, was to not tell Bubby those things. There's plenty of time for him to learn such lessons—and woefully little time that a precious boy earnestly and enthusiastically extends to his grandma invitations to birthday parties with pizza and bouncy houses.

What I chose to do was savor that fleeting moment instead.

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

A moment I recently savored with my grandchildren or children was ___________.