Through a Nana’s eyes

Special thanks to Studio 3 Music, the world’s largest Kindermusik program, for sharing this special post by from their blog with us.  The author, Colleen, is not just a grandmother; she’s also a licensed Kindermusik teacher at Studio 3!

It’s no wonder Grandmothers are afforded such a high level of respect in so many cultures: we are survivors!   We have borne children, raised them to adulthood and now stand ready to assist a whole new batch of babies.  Our hair a little grayer (not that anyone else will actually KNOW that fact), our gait a little slower, and perhaps our speech a bit more selective, having learned a thing or two along the way….hopefully!Each week I gather with a group of grandmothers much as I gathered with other moms when my children were young.   Oh, the special companionship we share!  We compare stories and pictures, laugh until we cry, cry until we laugh.  We celebrate remembered successes and occasionally can’t resist commiserating over the things we wished we’d done differently.  But in general, we relish the richness a new generation of babies brings to our lives.

Being one of the newer members of the Studio3 teaching team, I also have the special privilege of being the oldest and the one with the most (make that “only”!) grandchildren.   I could never have imagined even two years ago that my days would be spent so delightfully singing and skipping, hopping and bouncing, dancing and snuggling with little ones while learning a plethora of nursery rhymes, not to mention dozens of dances, silly songs and stories.   I feel I’ve been granted a rare and wonderful privilege.

But, of course, the best part is the children….and we Nanas and Papas see them very differently than Mommies and Daddies. Grandparent’s eyes are somehow different than parent’s eyes, probably because they are old and practiced.  We have seen how very quickly a little one pulls his way up to wobbly knees, quickly followed by toddling feet that all too soon make way for bicycle pedals.   Babies are not babies for long.   Toddlers are not toddlers for long.   Children are not children for long.

In the midst of the morphing the moments seem to stretch on forever!    Will they never sleep through the night?    Will he ever use a spoon?   Are diapers forever?   (Well, that Depends, I guess!)   It’s hard to take the long view when the short view involves such intensity.

I guess that’s one of the rewards of grandparenting.   We have seen the long view and discovered that it arrives all too soon!   I share with you a little poem someone took the time to embroider and frame as a gift for me when I was a young mom, in hopes you will pay it more heed than regrettably I, especially the last stanza.   Credited to Ruth Hamilton, it first appeared in the Ladies Home Journal in 1938 (before even MY time!).

Babies Don’t Keep

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew

And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

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