As many of you know, my daughter Annie and her little family are currently living with us. To not admit there are some adjustments would be to flat out lie about how easy it is to live with your children after they've moved out (several times) and moved back in again. But, mostly, it is. We probably would feel that way anyway, but the icing on the cake is that Angelo and I get to hang out with our grandson Luca almost every single day. That is one of the best gifts ever. And the cherry on the icing is that, at 3-1/2 years old, Luca makes quite an obliging slave.
I realized this one winter evening months ago when I was happily ensconced in "my chair" in the living room. Before bed Luca often plays for a little while while we finish up from dinner. I played the elder card and went to sit down and relax. I could reach the lamp next to me, but I needed a little more light in the room. Luca was playing on the rug next to the floor lamp behind the TV stand. The switch is also on the floor, so I asked him, "Lu - do you think you can turn on the light switch behind you?" He needed a little instruction, but within seconds he had accomplished his task and looked quite pleased with himself. 'What a wonderful gift I've just given him,' I thought to myself, 'the feeling of accomplishment.' So I gave him that gift every chance I could.
"Luca, can you turn on the lamp again?"
"Luca, will you put this in the garbage for me?"
"Lu, see if you can put this book back on the shelf."
And so on and so on. I rarely moved from my chair all winter as all my previous knee-shuddering tasks were taken over by my enthusiastic and helpful slave, er, grandson. He wanted to help me; what was I going to do, disappoint him?
Then, I went to Florida for a few weeks when my Dad was in the hospital. Between me and my two siblings, if we weren't by my dad's bedside in the hospital, we were at my parents' apartment with my mother. I'm not saying that my parents were helpless...but let's just say that with a little extra muscle in the house, I was doing a lot more heavy lifting.
"Cindy, can you open this jar?"
"Cindy, are you sure you don't mind taking the laundry down?"
"Cindy, can you reach that book up on the shelf for me?"
And so on and so on. I was happy that I was able to be so helpful when there was so much during that time that was making us feel so helpless. I was bending down for this, running out for that, and carrying the other things. One day it dawned on me...I was the slave! I was the one whose knees still bent and whose back was still (mostly) pain-free. I could see to drive at night, run the shopping cart back to the corral and drive the car around to the front. I was still the kid.
One evening, soon after I returned home, I took my rightful place in my chair. I lowered my cold, aching, aging body into it and prepared for an evening of reading, catching up on Agents of Shield and enjoying the rest of my Cab-Sav. Luca was on the rug with his zoo animals, and he looked up and said, "Gramma, want to play with me?" I left my chair, switched on the floor lamp and grabbed the elephant and the peacock and sat next to Luca on the rug.
The chair can wait.