I’ve never wanted to be the kind of person who goes around bragging that her grandchildren are the cutest, smartest, most adorable creatures God ever put on the face of this Earth.
But mine are.
It’s a fact. I take no credit for it. All credit goes to their parents, who are raising them right, and to their Creator, who for reasons I will never be able to fathom or repay, decided to let me be their nana.
I wish you could see them.
My granddad — a preacher and a joker and a notorious braggart — would say bragging is not bragging if you’ve got the truth to back it up. We didn’t agree on everything, he and I, but I like the sound of that.
Truth be known, I don’t brag all that much. And I rarely show photos, because I have so many on my phone I can never find the ones I want to show.
Mostly, I just tell stories about the kids. I think one good story is worth a thousand pictures. If I don’t forget how the story ends.
I would tell you some of those stories (and often have in past columns) but my husband and I share eight grandkids (ages 9 to six months, five boys, three girls all born within eight hectic years) and even a small sample of those stories would fill more space than I’m allowed.
OK, I’ll tell you a few.
Randy is 9. When he was 3, I was toweling him off after swimming, and he got a chill.
“Nana,” he said, “I shaky.”
I held him tight until he stopped shaking. Then he whispered in my ear, “Nana, when you hold me, I feel safe.”
Charlotte is 8. She is sparkly and she likes sparkly things. She gives me flowers from her yard and draws pictures for me and lets me wear her cat ears.
Henry is 8, a day younger than Charlotte. They are cousins, not twins. When Henry was 5, he told me when he grows up, he wants to own a restaurant.
“Will you hire me?” I said.
“That’s a long time away,” he said. “Will you ... like, you know ... still be alive?”
“What if I live to be really, really old? Will you hire me?”
“Nana, think about it. If you’re that old, what could you do?”
Wiley is 6. When he was 5, I offered him one of my infamous peanut butter cookies.
“Nana, I don’t want to hurt your feelings,” he said, ‘but this doesn’t really look like a cookie.”
Archer is 2, almost 3. Recently he saw a picture of a witch on a broom and wanted to try it out. He was straddling a broomstick, hopping around, when suddenly he stopped, looked at his dad and said, “Why I not flying?”
Eleanor is 4, going on 20, little but larger than life. When we say goodbye, she blows me kisses and calls, “Nana, I love you! I will miss you so much!”
Beatrix is 7 months, way cuter and a lot more fun than my first Betsy Wetsy. She takes a while to warm up to me. When she smiles, I melt into a puddle.
Finally (so far), there is Jonah. He is 6 months old, beautiful, like his mother, and big, like his daddy. I sit when I hold him, so I don’t fall down. Or we lie on the floor where he looks for stuff to put in his mouth, and I pray that I’ll be able to get up.
I teach him how to push a toy pig’s snout to make it oink; how to throw (sort of) a ball; how to belly laugh when I kiss his belly.
And he teaches me things with his eyes: That he and his cousins will make the world a better place; that we’ll always be close in this life and the next; and that someday I’ll buy him a car.
Someone told me recently that people who have children to care for never gossip; they only talk about the children.
We all have children to care for, whether they sleep in our arms or in homeless shelters.
There are lots of important things we need to talk about. I have no doubt about that. But honestly? It’s hard to think of anything more important than our grandchildren.
And that’s not bragging.
Contact freelance columnist Sharon Randall at P.O. Box 416, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.