November 1, 2021

Right now, Papa and I are in a state of total bemusement, that interesting state of wonder and disbelief.

We are watching our grandchildren, Rylan, 14, and Amelia, 12, grow physically (and probably mentally and emotionally) by leaps and bounds. It is as if each time we see them, they’ve grown another few inches. Overnight.

Rylan has grown almost six inches in the past year or so. He’s now taller than I am by a lot. He’s got fuzz on his face and his voice has dropped at least an octave. Who is this guy? Someone in this family is experiencing serious growing pains. It isn’t Rylan. It’s me.

I remember well what his dad was like at this age. It seemed as if we bought new shoes each month, sometimes before we’d paid the Visa bill for the earlier pair. Feeding him–and now Rylan!–was like stoking a furnace. We’d shovel food in the kid as fast as we could and all would be safely and voraciously consumed.

The other day, I dropped something off at Rylan’s house. Tamara, his mom, and I were talking in the kitchen. I heard a deep, husky male voice coming from the den and asked if she had workmen in the house. “No, that’s Rylan,” she said. I suddenly felt as if 14 years had flown by. Jeez, Louise. Who is this guy?

Like most adolescents, Rylan and Amelia have intense soccer, volleyball, and social schedules. Their daily activities look like the White House social calendar, with each day planned minute-by-minute. Weekends are spent traveling with soccer teams to far-flung places. Their calendar of events would make a debutante dizzy. That’s the good news. The bad news is that our family time is limited. I miss those weekends when we’d have sleepovers and make popcorn and watch the latest Disney flick. I miss making homemade Play-Doh on the kitchen counter. This growing up thing kind of stinks at times.

So, I’ve done what any self-respecting grandmother would do: I borrow other people’s kids. We have a passel of adorable and much younger cousins who love to come swim at our house. Our new neighbors–two adorable girls, Libbie, 6 ½ , and Margaux, 4 ½ come over occasionally to make cookies and slime. All of them call me Lollie and treat me like their bonus grandmother, a job I thoroughly enjoy. I even get invited to their birthday parties and am the first to go down the Bounce House slide.

It probably says something about my own level of maturity, but I’d rather hang out with a bunch of five year olds than just about anyone else. Their energy, creativity and outrageous honesty warm my heart.

Maybe other people’s kids can’t completely cure my own growing pains, but what the heck? It’s worth a try.

For now, Rylan and Amelia’s growth spurts are reminding me that time is marching on at breakneck speed. I need to lace up my running shoes, drink some Gatorade, and pick up the pace. My teens aren’t slowing down, and neither should I.

Hip Grannie columnist Laura ClaverieLaura Claverie is Nola Family's Hip Grannie. She is a local mother, grandmothers, and writer. 

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