Posted in Family

“Why are we here?”

Little Beej is three going on thirty. We were eating breakfast and the question came from nowhere. For a brief second, I forgot who had asked the question and just focused on those words. “Why are we here?”

This is something I’ve been struggling with for over a year now. When my life took a slight major detour last year, it took me awhile to adjust. Overnight (literally), everything changed. My grandsons, CJ and Beej, began staying with us when my son was at work. Since he works 24 hour shifts, this included two nights sleeping over and two mornings getting ready for school or the day, for each shift. Suddenly homework, baths, and extra-curricular activities were part of our daily lives again. My husband and I were back in the trenches.

We went into this phase believing it was just that- a phase. If anyone had asked us, I doubt either of us would have said that we might be doing this for the next ten years or so. And yet, as each month passed, what was supposed to be temporary was feeling more and more permanent. Planning time for meetings or friends became tricky and although I put a top priority on those meetings…. other things were set on a shelf. I found it hard to find time to blog, write, read, spend time with my friends, take time for myself.

The situation truly was what it was and is what it is. My son cannot help it and I know that if we all didn’t believe that this is the best we can do, we would not be doing it. Those little boys needed stability, routine, and love. They needed to know that when Daddy was at work, everything remained the same as it was when he was home. Yes, a person can hire nannie, use day care, babysitters, whatever, but what these boys needed (and continue to need) was a sense of family and love. Those other alternatives could never replace the nurturing they desperately need.

Knowing that I was doing what was best for the boys did not always lessen negative feelings. The feelings weren’t directed at the kids or my son. I tried to get a handle on them and just shove them out into the great beyond. But I was resentful and angry. I was watching my life slip away, bit by bit. Raising my own kids, I had struggled to find my identity separate from that of MOM. In this new role, although it was completely 100% mom-like, I wasn’t Mom. I was in a different place- one that I did not expect to be. I was helping my son raise his children. I am a grandparent helping raise her grandchildren. And I’ve found that it’s not as new of a thing as one might think!

The small part of me that seething asked, “How did we get here?” and “Who’s to blame?” I can assure you that this train of thought did not serve any purpose other than to help negativity grow. Luckily, Beej would snuggle up to me and all of that bad stuff would evaporate. I was always reminded of why I was here.

And somewhere along the way, we all adjusted to this new normal. I accepted that things might not change and this might be the next ten years of my life. With the help of my parents and an especially awesome best friend, I was (and am) able to see all the positive things this is bringing into my life and the boys’ lives and my son’s life…. And that’s the why of it. Not that negative stuff.

Helping CJ and Beej understand the why is a bit more difficult and will take time. Until that time, we are taking it day by day.

And in answer to Beej’s question, well, he was just wondering why we had come to Michigan for the day. That answer was an easy one- “To get a break and have fun!”

It was much easier to answer than yesterday’s question- “What is a plug made out of?”

Have a great day!