I have recently been given the privilege of babysitting two of my grandchildren every Tuesday. I love spending time with my two year old granddaughter and six month old grandson. They are so darling and fun!
And watching them while I’m also caring for my 95 year old mother-in-law, Eunice, who has Alzheimer’s, is interesting.
Exhausting might be a more honest word.
They all need meals at the same time. They all need to be put down for naps about the same time. As soon as I get the baby to sleep, Eunice is popping out of her bedroom with needs.
I get her settled down and the baby wakes up crying. And then Eunice is crying, too! And I’m running up and down stairs wishing my knees were much younger than they are.
But it’s priceless to see the two year old bring a book to her great-grandma and climb up in her lap and say, “Read this to me, Grandma.” She doesn’t realize that her great-grandma doesn’t know how to read many words anymore.
Eunice tries to read a bit and then gives up. But they both seem intrigued with the pictures and they turn the pages and look so sweet together.
And it makes my heart smile. My grand doesn’t know that her great-grandma doesn’t know her. She’s just secure in the assumption that adults around her want to hold her and be kind to her. And I think Eunice responds to that. Maybe the little face with round cheeks looking up to her stirs maternal feelings that still linger.
Eunice likes to smile and make faces at the baby, too. And he often smiles back. He has THE MOST adorable smile! (I’m not prejudice at all. It’s just a fact.)
I know if Eunice didn’t have Alzheimer’s, she would be treasuring these moments. Even three years ago, when she held her first great-grandchild, she said, “I never thought I’d live long enough to see this day.” Now that awareness has faded away. But she’s still making memories with her great-grandchildren.
And though Eunice won’t remember these days, maybe her great-grandchildren will. And if they’re too young to hold onto the memories, than I will store them up in my heart for all of us.
Tuesdays are exhausting. But they are my favorite kind of exhaustion.
And I thank the Lord for the tender moments, and the soft cuddles, and the pudgy cheeks I get to smother in kisses.
“Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly…” Proverb 17:6