It's pretty safe to say that currently, I am in heaven. My husband and I have our three-year-old granddaughter for two whole weeks this summer, and I am having the time of my life.
She is impossibly beautiful, genuinely sweet, and smart as a whip. Hanging out with her is like spending time with a tiny adult, with no agenda and no jaded perspectives.
I've thought to myself so many times over this past week, how much she reminds me of my daughter when she was that age – that crazy quick wit, that joy and wonder, that desire to do everything, all at once. And those reminiscences, in turn, remind me of when I was a little girl.
Funny, isn't it, how raising your children and loving your grandchildren is so much like looking in a mirror? It's cool. It's heartwarming. And it can be terrifying. I throw out that last, because I recall mistakes I've made quite vividly, and it's my sincerest hope to steer my children clear of those. We can't protect them from making any mistakes at all, I know that. But if I could just intercede and prevent them from making, say, my Top 10, I'd be happy.
Young women today fascinate me. I know so many who don't struggle with the fears and intimidations that dotted my youth, even my 20s and 30s. My daughter is one of those. She travels the world without a second thought about "being a woman traveling alone." I'm still not comfortable with it, but she's an adult. Secretly, I admire her courage and confidence. I can honestly say that it never occurred to me to travel alone as a young woman, except for business. In fact, I couldn't imagine why a woman might even want to travel alone. You see back then, I was under the mistaken impression that being with a man was a prerequisite for doing pretty much anything. That attitude, in fact, accounts for probably eight of my Top 10 big mistakes.
Thankfully, my daughter is not of that same mind. She has so many things she wants to experience and accomplish before even considering settling down. When she does decide to date "seriously," she has a very specific list of characteristics the young man must have, and compromise is not an option. While the "mom" in me worries and wrings her hands that I'll be 100 before she has any children, the woman in me beams with pride. My daughter respects herself and is wise enough to know that "until death do you part" is a very long time, even longer if you're miserable.
And then I look at my precious granddaughter. What does her life hold? Likely, she will know and experience things that I can't even imagine. Whatever her life has hidden away, only to be revealed over the coming years, I pray that she faces it all with confidence, self-respect, compassion and wonder. Those are the things I have learned for myself in the five-plus decades I've wandered this earth. No one will believe in me until I first believe in myself. No one will treat me better than I expect to be treated.Kindness blesses not only the recipient, but the giver as well. And experiencing all of life with a touch of wonder and awe preserves that perfectly innocent three-year-old in all of us. I have a hard time finding her sometimes, underneath all the worry and fear and exhaustion I let creep into my life. But if I look long enough, I always do.
We have just over a week left to spend with our grand baby, and I plan to turn everything else off and revel in her and her alone. On a good day, I look at her and am reminded of the child that I used to be, that we all used to be. Oh, if the world really was the way a child sees it...
Can you imagine?
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL (Apr 2016, Skyhorse Publishing), was recently named the Finalist for 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective/Mystery genre. Her previous three books are written with Southern humor. Carole often appears on network television talk and news shows, as well as on national true crime radio shows. Her books can be found in bookstores, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and at www.caroletownsend.com. When she's not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, writing, family and life in her beloved South.