All the Sweet Love And a Chat in the Afternoon – by Jane Isay
We grandparents sometimes have a hard time accepting the fact that our grandchildren have to grow up. It’s inevitable. But it’s not easy for us. Sometimes when I walk along my street and see a stroller with an infant I am overcome with delight and ogle the baby. I smile lovingly at the adults, of course, and go about my business. I miss the babies, the smell of powder, the rush to hug me. Sometimes we worry that when they grow up, they will stop loving us as much. They sure are too busy for us.
Don’t worry, friends.
Two years ago, my oldest grandson, who was nearly 14 at the time, left for camp a kid and came home an adolescent. He was taller than me, and there was a whisper of hair on his legs. Where was my little boy? We had spent one afternoon a week together since he was a baby. But now it was time for him to go to high school. He promised to visit with me one afternoon a week, on his way home from school.
He meant to, but that didn’t happen.
He was, after all, a high school freshman, and he played basketball most afternoons and then rushed home to have dinner and finish his homework. I was sad. Did he miss our time together? Did he even remember it?
Then, I found a piece of paper he had brought me several years ago, coming back from a family visit in New Orleans. They had encountered a table at which a poet with a typewriter sat. Give her a subject, and she would write a poem. Her seat was called The Spontaneous Prose Store.
Here’s the poem:
for grandma jane
having someone to talk to its
the sweet love of an afternoon
spent hanging out with you
we talk and it
means the world
its so simple
all the sweet love
and a chat in the afternoon
khg (the spontaneous prose store)
I had not realized how much our afternoons meant to him. It took a street poet to tell me that our bond, created over years of weekday afternoons, is deep and strong. The poem helped me understand that I won’t lose him, and he won’t lose me.
Now in the time of Covid, he approaching his 16th birthday, isolated with his family, trying to finish his second year of high school and missing his friends. My grandson doesn’t want to talk or bother with me. I have to remind myself that he is still my little boy, even though his voice is deep and he is the tallest in his family. The poem helps.
Then on Mother’s Day, I got a card from him. His note ended, “You mean the world to me.”
I couldn’t believe it.
Then I did believe it.
Every Other Monday
Gathering of Grandparents
Start your week with an hour in a warm place to discuss the stresses we grandparents face in the time of Covid 19.
has been an editor for over forty years and is author of Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents, Mom Still Likes You Best: Overcoming the Past and Reconnecting with Your Siblings, Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives, and Unconditional Love: A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today. She lives in New York City, not too far from her children and four grandchildren.