My favorite person in the world right now is my 2.5-year-old grandson. Creepy as it sounds, I’m in Nana love and, unlike the normal infatuation adults go through, this isn’t wearing off even though we’re technically past the honeymoon phase.
This has come as quite a shock to me because throughout my daughter’s pregnancy, I worried incessantly I might not like my grandchild. I had good reason to wonder because, while I loved my own four children specifically, I was never that keen on other people’s kids. Technically, my grandson would be “other people’s kids.”
Turns out my worry was unfounded, much like worrying broccoli might actually be a poison after years of eating it to protect myself from disease. I was smitten from the moment I heard Austin cry, and a protective instinct came barreling out of my chest like a poltergeist.
“Can I hold him?” I asked politely, while inside I was a military officer commanding, “Give me that baby!” My son-in-law generously offered me a turn with this brand-new human, and I cooed him to quiet, his little eyebrows knit in concentration looking up at me. We spoke in the telepathic code of Nanas and Grandbabies everywhere: “Is the world always this noisy?” he asked. “Sometimes it’s nosier,” I said, “but our family does noise like Superheros, so don’t you worry.”
For his first year, I babysat Austin every Monday and every other Friday, the bonding magic of concentrated time setting up like glue between us. This year, I’m babysitting him only on Mondays and, like most addicts trying to get clean, a few days after seeing him I start getting twitchy. By Sunday night I’m full-on antsy. When I walk through his front door on Mondays and he runs at me for a hug, electricity shoots from my heart to my brain as if someone had yelled “Clear!” and attached paddles to my chest. The entire world lights up. I’m certain that this must be what it’s like to be on those super cool drugs that make people smarter, stronger, and way more fun. Because, believe you me, I’m way more fun with Austin.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling, because I hear it whispered among Nanas in coffee shops and grocery stores as if they’re talking to a drug dealer on a dark corner: When’s your next hit? How long have you been without? I’m going to lose my mind if I can’t get some soon. They too have been exposed to the Nana-Love drug and they know the pain of withdrawal.
I’ve thought long and hard about this addiction, wondering what caused it, and I’ve come to believe that it is because there is finally someone in my family who likes the exact same things I do! It’s as if Austin and I are THE EXACT SAME PERSON. For instance:
- We both crave being outside. From the moment he could motor by himself, Austin would army crawl to the sliding glass door separating him from the backyard and pound his tiny fist on it, seeking the freedom that only fresh air brings. We know this truth: There is absolutely nothing that can’t be made better by a walk around the block or laying on your back staring at clouds go by.
- We both eat the way God intended – grazing all day. Who needs three meals a day when you can have seven decent snacks instead?
- We both have dancing feet and aren’t afraid to use them in the grocery store, at church, in the car or at the mall. And, it must be said, we’ve both been complimented for our moves out in public.
- We’re both love to learn. Every day is an adventure waiting to be tackled and every new discovery brings another cry from Austin of, “I like this!” Which makes me remember: So do I!
- Finally, we both suffer from FOMO. Austin fights sleep like a whirling dervish, protesting that he might miss something important if he closes his eyes – his Momma coming home, maybe, or the discovery that chocolate cures cancer. I, on the other hand, fear I’ll miss out on a nap if he doesn’t take one.
I know that someday Austin will decide that I’m no longer his favorite non-parental-unit. But for now, I’m feeding my addiction while I can. And looking for a 12-step group for Nanas just in case.