Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Our children are lucky. They have three sets of grandparents who are still very youthful, attentive, and fun. One of those sets is who we refer to as Nammy and Pop. It's more like one word NammyandPop than not because they simply go together. Apart they are independent, individual and precious. Together they are fortified, tireless, beyond generous and still precious.
NammyandPop are my husband's parents. Officially that makes them my in-laws but I almost can't say that out loud because they are so much more than that to me. From Day One, his parents included me into their fold and never once made me feel like an outsider. Years ago, each of them must have had their doubts about their son becoming engaged to a girl who lived two lives: school teacher by day and wannabe (indie, Lillith Fair-ey) rock star by night. I can still remember the worried looks on their faces when their son took me for a two night hike/camping excursion in Pennsylvania. You could see their worry was more for the naive suburbanite than their woods savvy son and this actually warmed my heart. If his parents shot off fireworks and toasted champagne as we entered into the woods, I would probably not have slept one wink that night. (As it was, we got rained out and only camped one night. I managed to burn Ramen noodles, borrow his last pair of dry socks, and stop to make "cat holes" every hour or so. We were destined for matrimony.)
Zoom forward 10 years or so and that girl who married their only son is ever grateful for the added bonus of becoming their daughter-in-law. They have shown up when I needed parental support while my own were too far away. Nammy (and Pop) would take every last bit of her own personal leave from work to help care for Grayson when I was too sick with hyperemesis to care for him myself. And her care wouldn't stop at her grandson. She would arrive first thing in the morning with gummy worms, ginger ale, and Teddy Grahams (couldn't keep an aspirin down but would hoover some golden honied teddy bears) for my shrinking stomach and somehow manage to both tend to "the lump on the couch" and shoulder the full (and extremely exhausting) schedule of a two-year old. Even Pop, bless his heart, attended more OB appointments with me than he'd care to admit. After while, I stopped saying "thank you," because because I knew they didn't want the thanks. They simply wanted to help.
And help they have throughout the years. From lending a hand for several coastal moves to giving me the chance to see a dentist without a baby strapped to my body, they were there as much as their schedules would allow. They were there for every birthday party, barbeque, mastitis emergency, garage sale, sunny Sunday afternoon, or just a lonely Tuesday. While I missed my friends and family in Maryland throughout our tour in Pennsylvania, having NammyandPop close by was always a huge comfort and one I'm not sure I would have survived without.
Then we moved.
I think I celebrated the most and also cried the hardest. Talk about conflicted. It was wonderful to move back to where my family and friends were but I knew there would be a hole in our lives
in the shape of one Nam and one Pop. How would we manage? How would this this pan out?
Luckily for us, NammyandPop are still willing and able to visit when they can. It's not with the same frequency (understandably) but it is with the same love, warmth, and comfort as when we were only an hour away. When NammyandPop come to visit our new place, it is a time of celebration for everyone as well as a time of rest for me. I willingly hand over the parental reigns and try to disappear as much as possible. I don't stay gone for very long, however, because I don't want to miss a visit entirely with them either. It's always sunshine when they arrive. But the weekend clicks by like a runaway train and before I'm ready for it, they are collecting their bags, coats, and kisses to head home.
When they leave, just as they did on Sunday, you can bet your Teddy Graham who is the one left in the driveway with tears in her eyes. Well, yes, Sadie too. We both hate to see them go. The kids deal okay but they punk out on us, tussle with each other a little more and go to bed with far more attitude than necessary as an expression of the injustice of their beloved grandparents leaving. "Like it's my idea," I remind the little Shreks. Nobody's fault. They are just missing their NammyandPop and cannot quite articulate it.
I know the feeling.