Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

I’m well beyond the toddler/newborn stage – and I have teenagers, so I am already perpetually exhausted. And that’s why I’m glad to be grandma. Having our grandkids and their parents live with us is delightful, for the most part. Sure, having 8 people under one roof (Dave and I, our teenage kids, our daughter Kira, her husband, and their two kids) can be stressful at times – especially when a holiday is coming and the fridge simply isn’t big enough. But I am glad to be grandma.

Kira and Louis have a 2-year old and a newborn. It’s not easy, and it’s not always fun. I remember – Hallie and Leo are the same age gap as Parker and Anika. When you have a newborn screaming to be fed, changed, and rocked to sleep every two hours and a toddler who is adjusting to a new baby, cooped up at home, and in the tantrum stage, it’s a wonder you get 3 minutes a day of peace.

But when the baby is crying and fussing late into the night, I might hear it – but I can also be grateful it’s not me having to get up and walk around the room and soothe the baby back to sleep 20 times. When the toddler refuses to nap and is out of sorts by dinnertime and a handful to deal with all evening, I can retreat to my room and reminisce about being in that stage while feeling pretty good about being out of it. I can walk away. I can travel. I can go to movies.

Louis and Kira will survive this stage, even though it may not feel like it to them right now. They benefit from our help, but they also are being forced to figure out this whole parenting thing with an audience, something I couldn’t have done. We try to strike the perfect balance between offering a helping hand and welcome advice and staying out of the way to let them have their family.