Most children take some type of nap for the first three to five years of their lives…and their mothers are grateful for that quiet time. I was no different, but I had one problem…my youngest daughter. Amy was a happy, smiley little girl, who loved to laugh and practically always ran wherever she went. Both of my girls were very happy little girls. When they were little, both of them took an hour to two hour nap every day. It was a time when I could clean house, do laundry, or maybe even read a book…which was shocking to my system. At first, they both woke up smiling and very happy, but as Amy approached two years old, things began to change.
My smiling little angel would go to bed so happy and when she woke up…all those little smiles were gone. The best thing to do then was not to speak to her for a while, because she was going to be grouchy for a while. My solution was to get her a glass of Kool-Aid, and wait it out. Amy was so grouchy that she would hold that glass up to her face, for an hour or two, sipping slowly, until she was ready to rejoin the rest of the world. The glass didn’t leave her mouth during that whole time. Now, if you know anything about Kool-Aide at all, you know that when it sits against a baby’s cheeks for a while, it will leave its mark on those little cheeks. One might have thought that it would be hard to catch a picture of a Kool-Aide face, but with Amy it was not difficult at all. She had a Kool-Aide face pretty much every day.
After almost a year of putting a happy toddler to bed and getting a cranky toddler up, I decided that I no longer cared what all the experts said about children needing their naps for the first five years. When Amy turned two, I made the decision that mine would be that strange household where the three year old took a nap, but the two year old took no more naps. Strange as it was, it was the best decision I ever made. Amy stayed happy and the Kool-Aide face became a thing of the past, and her big sister, Corrie took her naps for about another two years. And peace reigned in our house…which made me very happy!!
When you lose one parent, you feel a like half of your world is messed up. You still have the other parent, but it still doesn’t feel right…doesn’t feel the same as it used to be. I have felt that kind of loss twice in my life, because when you marry into a family, you gain a second set of parents. Having in-laws can be good or bad depending on the relationship you build with your in-laws. For me it was a good relationship, so when my father-in-law passed away, it was my second dad that passed away. I have noticed something quite different with my father-in-law’s passing, from my dad’s passing.
While both mothers are still alive, and in my family, that is a more stablizing fact, in Bob’s family, it is not so much the case. Since his mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and is in a nursing home, it feels almost like she is gone from us too, in a sense. It isn’t that we don’t go see her often, because we do, but because she doesn’t have any input in family matters. It almost feels like the family is adrift at sea…in separate boats!! Everyone is busy doing their own things, and living their own lives, but that creates a feeling of disconnect in my mind. While some family members call each other and talk about things, others don’t. Some I haven’t heard from since the end of May, when we had Brenda’s birthday party. It is a bit of a lonely feeling.
Other family members, I talk to often, of course, and it is my hope that the family will regroup and become as strong as it was before. I’m sure everyone is just trying to deal with everything in their own way, but for me, it just seems like some of the family has grown farther apart from the rest of us, and I think that is sad. I’m one of those people who likes close family ties, and not talking to the family much is, well…as I said before, like being adrift at sea…in separate boats.
Some people have such a way with children…a gentleness really. They are so soft hearted…maybe a little too soft hearted, but you find yourself unable to be upset with them, even if they let kids get away with too much. That is always how Bob was with our girls, and in fact, if I hadn’t been much more on the strict side, they would have been completely spoiled. Bob always had a hard time with disciplining the girls. I think he always thought he would hurt them, so he either left it up to me, or he yelled at them a little, and I do mean little, bit. He wasn’t a scary guy at all, and in fact Amy, my more stubborn child, even laughed at him after a spanking he gave her when she was 5 years old, if you could call it that. He just didn’t have the heart for it.
I can’t say that his soft heart was a bad thing, exactly. I mean, did the girls get away with a little more than they should have when they were little? Yes. Is he still a sucker for his little girls? Yes. All they have to do is say, “I love you, Daddy” and he knows he has already lost. Does that fact bother Bob? Not at all. It is simply who he is. He might try to tell people he isn’t a softy around kids, but everyone knows that isn’t so.
Everywhere Bob goes, little kids seem to come out of the woodwork. No, I don’t mean strangers, I mean the children of friends, people he bowls with, or people he works with, and of course, family members children. They are just drawn to Bob. I think that soft heart shows on his face, personally. And if you think you can hide that from a kid…well, get over it. They can read you like a book. Those little kids instinctively knew that Bob was a friend.
Not much has changed over the years, and the grandchildren know that their grandpa is going to help out in any way he can. He is the second call, after their parents, when they have car trouble or any other such problem, because if their parents can’t fix it, or can’t get there right now, their grandparents will find a way…yes, I’m a bit of a softy too. And they know that he will most likely let them get away with a little more than their parents might, simply because he hasn’t changed since their mothers were little. Once a soft heart, always a soft heart.