Enjoying the fun of new grandkids, with none of the obligations
In the last few years, we’ve had a population explosion in our extended New Orleans family. It’s been a lot of fun to see the Millennial Cousins add to the youngest generation. Our grandchildren, Rylan and Amelia, now 11 and 8 years old, are the senior citizens of their generation and take much pride in their roles.
I would love to have a dozen more grandchildren, but that isn’t likely to happen. So, I find myself relishing my time with the new kids on the block. Those precious hours when newbies come over to swim or for a family party – or if Papa and I are invited to one of their events – mean the world to us. So much so, that we call our baby cousins our “Time-Share Grandchildren.” Time-Share Grands are like that wonderful condo in Florida that you get to visit but have none of the responsibilities for its well-being. You simply show up and enjoy it. It’s all about fun.
Kids, kids and more kids!
Each of our Time-Share Grandkids has a personality all his or her own. Reid, John and Nathan are 4, 3, and 2 years old. As the big brother in his family, Reid is a take charge kind of guy. John is the middle child, just happy to tag along. Nathan is in awe of everything going on around him. Then there is Shepard, 2, who is the explorer. Cameron, our redhead and also 2, lights up the world with his smile and has never had a bad day. Robert, 2, and Caelin, 3, are serious little guys. Our lone girl cousin, Emerson, is an infant, and Amelia has big plans for her since she is the only female cousin in New Orleans. There are two more babies on the way, and we can’t wait to meet them.
Family parties are a hoot. With all the little ones buzzing around, we have our own “Zone Defense” to monitor the action. Adults constantly watch to make sure no one is crawling up the stairs on his own, rearranging the kitchen cabinets (Lord knows they need it), falling into the pool or grabbing a bag of Goldfish from the hands of a smaller cousin. Being with seven toddlers younger than 4 in the same room is a bit like being in a room full of puppies who wear their own poop bags. The energy in the house would make Entergy green with envy. It’s a shame we can’t bottle it!
Keeping extended family close
While much of this may seem frivolous, it isn’t. For grandparents like us, it’s a thrill to know this next generation of family members. Since Papa was an only child, his cousins are like siblings, only better. We want to know these babies, and we want them to know us. In a few decades, when Rylan and Amelia tell stories about their outrageous Lollie and Papa, the cousins will be there to say, “Yep, they aren’t making this stuff up.”
It seems like yesterday when the Millennial Cousins were crawling on the floor and riding their Big Wheels down the block. Papa and I watched them grow into often fun, sometimes challenging, but always interesting teenagers and young adults. We saw them go to college and grad school, and now they are parents with careers and homes of their own. In spite of us and our many screw-ups along the way, they’ve all turned into fine, responsible citizens and parents.
Maybe that’s what this Time-Share Grandkid thing is all about. We are part of the village it takes to raise a child. Part of that circle of unqualified love that says, “Dude, we love you no matter what.” And we do. As Time-Share Grandparents, Papa and I trip over toys, change poopy diapers and read “Goodnight Moon” for the 10,000,000th time. And, in a flash, we feel young again.
Laura Claverie is a grandmother to two wonderful grandchildren, Rylan and Amelia. She lives in the Garden District.
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