Changing Identities

April 3, 2011

in grandchildren

I didn’t want to move to Boston.  My husband and I were quite content in Washington, DC, where we had made our home and raised our two children over 32 years.  But after retirement we, like many other Baby Boomers, considered where we might want to spend the rest of our lives.  I could still work and be among friends and family in the nation’s capital.  And there would always be those great conversations about politics.

Going back to my native Chicago was an option, but someplace warm was particularly appealing.  But there was my daughter, who finished her Harvard Medical School residency in Boston.  She began to work for Massachusetts General Hospital and at some party she met the man she wanted to marry.  Drat, I thought.  We’ll never again be in the same city.  They married, set up house in the Boston suburbs and then the most miraculous things began to happen.

She had a baby boy and she named him after her father.  Then she had another baby boy, whose middle name is Simpson.  Then, oh happy day, she had a baby girl.  A girl I could dress up in princess costumes, take shopping and help turn into a strong, savvy woman.

The decision of where to move made itself.  My daughter and my son-in-law gave us three grandchildren, the cutest, smartest, most wonderful grandchildren on earth. (I know.  All grandparents say that.)  So, is it any wonder that in six months’ time we packed up kit and caboodle and drove to Boston?

Where do I want to spend the rest of my life?   I want to spend it close to my grandbabies:  watching them learn to walk and talk; playing games; reading bedtime stories; taking them for ice cream; praising their school projects; going to soccer games and recitals; and even scolding if necessary, but only when their parents aren’t around.  (Of course, I think I know how to raise those children better than they do.)

My husband and I live through our grandchildren.  I look at James and see the intelligence and seriousness of my husband; “Action” Jackson physically resembles me and has the wit and humor of so many on my side of the family; and little Savanna has my mother’s long flowing hair and her own mother’s sassy attitude.  The three of them are the joy of my life.

So my husband and I have new identities.  We were once, just Carole and Jim.  Then we became Mom and Dad.  Now we are lovingly called MeMe and Pop-Pop by three tiny people who always seem as thrilled to see us as we are to see them.  Even though we now live in cold, dreary, and snowy Boston, the children have enriched our lives with new meaning and new purpose.  Being grandparents makes getting older not so bad.  Not so bad, at all.

{ 1 comment }

Marcy Zeldman Patterson Maycock May 31, 2011 at 5:55 am

Carol- this is so Poignant! We have 4 grandchildren now and are contemplating our next chapter…thanks for your insight.

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