It's been a couple of months since I returned to CO after spending 10 days with my daughter and son-in-law, and their new baby, Frankie. I don't know how any baby can be 'old' but we always say, "new" don't we? At any rate, my time with them when Frankie was just under a month old was, as they say, priceless. There were many sleepless nights. Walking the baby throughout the house to get her to sleep. Cooing and laughing and hugging and admiring.
As I look back on those few days, and spend a lot of time right now wishing NY wasn't so FAR away, I am struck by the learning experience of unplugging from the computer and spending quality time with my family. I thought I'd share my thoughts and see if any of you can relate. Here goes...
Everything I Need To Know, I Learned from My Three Month Old Granddaughter
1. I learned that life is too precious to worry about tomorrow or next year. Plan, yes. But, worry? What good does that do? Frankie knew nothing about tomorrow, or even the next hour! Frankie wanted attention when she wanted attention. She wanted to eat when she wanted to eat. She was in good hands and trusted that her needs would be met. Those good hands, of her Mom, her Dad, Tom, Me and all the other doting family members made sure her every wish was granted! It taught me that planning is crucial to moving forward.
2. I learned that even the best plans can go asunder. Oh yes! You can plan all you want - plan for naptime and baby will thwart your efforts by not napping! Plan for feeding time and baby will decide she's not that hungry right now. Plan for visitors to come see the precious and she will snore through the whole visit.
Plan for a day out, and all the effor that takes with a newborn, and the newborn will spike a fever or be so fussy, you dare not go anywhere! It taught me that a contingency plan is necessary! Never rely on just one resource or recourse.
3. I learned that my way isn't always the...'right' way. I'm not the mother in this case. I'm the grandmother. I can say and do what I please about certain issues (how to bath baby, how to dress baby, how to react when baby cries, how to hold baby...just to name a few), but in the end, it's the Mom's and Dad's choice on what advice to take and what advice to discard.
It taught me that I need to be more open to listening to clients. I need to recognize that clients may have a totally different world view than I do. They may have many of the same likes and dislikes, and one hopes they have hired me because they trust me and feel I am the best person for the job, but in the end, they still have certain requirements that may not match my expectations. Oh, sure, I can gently persuade them to do things my way, as I did once or twice with my daughter. But, on the whole, it doesn't hurt to do some things their way - if it won't spoil the entire project.
4. I learned that you can operate on almost no sleep, but it's not recommended. Frankie is a sweet baby and slept well almost from the start. But, the birth was a bit challenging and so she and my daughter were set up in the couple's living room for the first month or so. That meant, sleeping on the big couch. Comfy but...it's a couch! And, Frankie was a noisy sleeper. We never knew if she was just waking up, dreaming, or just falling asleep! We took turns tending to her - I spent a lot of time rocking in the padded rocker we bought the couple and almost nodding off, while holding Frankie.
That is a precious memory - and I didn't even realize how much sleep I was missing until I got home to CO! Then, I hit a wall and it took me several weeks to get back to speed. It taught me that sleep is important in your day to day life. If necessary, yes, you can go without sleep to accomplish a project or take care of a baby. But, sleep helps you refresh and reboot. Don't fool yourself into thinking you can go months and months without much of it.
5. I learned that other people happily give you space when you tell them you're taking care of a baby. I did some work while I was at my daughter's. I had a few meetings out. All of my clients and contacts understood that I was playing Grandma, which meant everything else was taking a back seat. Mind you, I had informed them all well ahead of time. But, the fact that they were so understanding, and even eager to hear about the little one - some asked for pictures right away - put me in a relaxed mood, the better to enjoy my granddaughter.
It taught me that most people are, indeed, kind and generous and that all people carry the "babies are beautiful" gene in their hearts. They recognize the importance of these chubby-cheeked members of society - knowing these kids will be the ones who are responsible for us, when we are old, old, old! Are my clients different than yours? I doubt it. I had prepared my clients for my break in focus and each one had expressed congratulations, secure in the knowledge that I was not foresaking them, and that I had back-up in place to serve them while I was out of touch.
I am sure I will continue to learn life lessons from Frankie. And, as her Grandmother - a bit removed from the day to day care of her - I will have a chance to pay more attention, to learn the lessons she has to teach me, with an open mind. Unlike those days of being a frenzied Mom of three, running here, there and everywhere... just trying to keep the kids happy, the house clean, and dinner on the table.