FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Grandparenting

by

I’m weepy. My weeks with Mr. Poop-adore end Saturday, and I won’t see him again for two months. Right now, he’s on his play mat. I look at him and smile. His grin reveals he knows precisely what he’s done to my heart.

Early mornings before I get my hands on my Mr. Poop, I read about Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Ferguson—you know, the infernos. And that WTF (?)-horrifying hole in judgment—the nine-year-old girl who accidentally killed her shooting instructor with an Uzi.

Both the deliberately insane decisions and the stupidly unstable choices can be suffocating.

I’ve made a vow to stop whining—about anything in my small personal life. Because of the huge numbers of people who have legitimate reasons to complain, to be outraged, frightened, to become hopeless, depressed. I imagine parents who bear the weight of “The Talk”—with their sons, the necessity of having to list survival rules, saying words like, “Don’t walk in the middle of the street.”

Mr. Poop was unusually fretful yesterday. So much so, I renamed him Mr. Piss Pissedofferson. He’d squirm in my arms, open that perfect little mouth, and wail. I whispered sweet somethings, sang a song I composed years ago to sing to his uncle as I rocked him to sleep: “He was lonesome for his mommy. He was lonesome for his dad. He was lonesome for his grandma.They’re the best friends he ever had.” (The original version with “brother” instead of grandma.)

While I’ve been in Brooklyn, I’ve thought about all the grandparents who are their grandchildren’s caregivers, some only during the day, and others with grandchildren living with them. For many, this is the only option. There could be tragic reasons why—war, any variation of war, any conflict, like domestic abuse. Or illness, death from disease, drug addiction. Here, see this—7 million: the number of grandparents whose grandchildren lived with them in 2010. And that’s just in the U.S.

I sit inside, singing lullabies to Mr. Squealy McSquealerman, whose pissiness has passed. He’s now trying to out-vocalize me. No, that’s inaccurate. I truly believe we’re harmonizing. I want to put him in a bubble. Want to put all the children in a bubble.

Before I forget: I told you I’m a scaredy-cat, acrophobic. I’ve whipped it. Kicked it. I’ve been out on the balcony of this 13th floor apartment to stare at the vastnass of the night sky. There’s so much beauty in the world. And enough ugliness to destroy it. I look up, feeling helpless to change much of anything, but I wish you peace, wish each of you peace. Oh, dear. Spell Check isn’t working. I’m not complaining; just splaining.

Missy Beattie can be reached at missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail