By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Carole Townsend

(Not so) Common Sense: 
The last of the family holidays is packed away, for now
By Carole Townsend

Well, Easter 2015 is in the history books, and it was a fine one. I hope yours was, too, if you celebrate Easter. If not, I trust that your Passover or just your weekend was glorious. The weather was gorgeous, the trees are “greening up” (as my dad used to say), and the dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom. At our house, we had an extra blessing to add to all that. Our ten-month-old granddaughter spent the entire weekend with us.

My husband and I have waited patiently for our daughter to grant us permission to keep her daughter overnight. Now, he and I have raised four children without losing any of them, killing one or leaving visible marks on any of them. They are all well-grounded, responsible young adults of whom we are very proud. Somewhere along the way, though, all of that experience has fallen by the wayside, and our own child doubted our ability to take care of her daughter for just one night.

About a month or so ago, she finally said “yes.” When I asked if the baby could come and stay a night with us, she agreed. I was so excited that I could hardly contain myself. My husband and I went to Babies ‘R Us and dropped a fortune on a top-of-the-line car seat, high chair, playpen, stroller, toys and various and sundry other items (that store belongs on Rodeo drive, by the way. I think it was built specifically for excited grandparents). 

The evening went well, we had a great time playing with the baby and taking care of her, and we returned her to her mommy unharmed. After that night, we had earned street cred with our daughter. When I asked if we could have the baby for two nights over Easter weekend, she said “yes” without any hesitation.  I was pleasantly surprised.

The week before the baby was to arrive, our daughter sent us a video of her walking. Well, she was mobile. She was pulling up, standing, then grabbing one of her walking toys and doing laps around the living room, clipping the coffee table every time as she cut the corner too short. It was adorable.

Walking. She is now mobile, and as any parent or grandparent knows, mobility changes everything.  Gone are the days when she stays put. Gone are the days when we can have trinkets on tables, open wall sockets, toilets without locked lids and back doors that open onto a patio and (gasp) a pool. All the worst case “what-if” scenarios ran through my mind like a short indie flick. I panicked, and off we went to Babies ‘R Us.

Long story short, our house was safe and child-proof by the time the baby arrived last Friday. The only emergency we experienced all weekend was when I had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t figure out how to raise the toilet lid. I ended up cutting it free with hedge trimmers, and that was that.

One of the proudest and happiest moments of my life, I believe, was taking our little granddaughter to church with us for the Easter service Friday evening. It just felt very right.

On Easter Sunday, we had all four of our children with us around the dinner table, with their significant others, and with our granddaughter seated in a state-of-the-art, space-age high chair next to her mommy. All was right with the world.

Now that Easter has passed, we’ll have to wait a while for the next of what I call the “family” holidays. I suppose Thanksgiving is the next one, and that’s O.K. I enjoy the long, lazy days of summer, and when autumn arrives, I’ll enjoy that, too. Changes will take place; that’s inevitable. Our youngest is moving up north to pursue her Master’s Degree.  Our son is doing well in his career, and who knows what’s next for him? Our little granddaughter will grow and change, and we will continue to have her spend the night with us as often as possible.

When everyone had left on Sunday, I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. After two days of taking care of a ten-month-old, I ached in places I haven’t thought about in years. I was tired (you never fall into a deep sleep when you know a little tiny one is sleeping next to you). I hurt, I needed sleep, and I was deeply and thoroughly happy.

As my husband and I sat on the sofa soaking up the quiet and trying to wait a respectable amount of time before falling into bed, I did ask him to do one more thing for me and as always, he smiled and answered, “Anything.”

I asked him to show me how to unlock the toilet lids. You can’t always count on having the hedge trimmers with you in the bathroom, can you?

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. She writes about family, from both a humorous and poignant perspective. Her newest book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. She is currently writing her fourth book. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the region, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well-being of the family, particularly women and children. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.