Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Memoir Monday: “Being A Grandparent” by Jane Scott

My husband Drew and I leave the Las Vegas Motor Coach Resort at ten o’clock in the morning to care for our four grandchildren. Their hard working and responsible parents are taking a much needed vacation to Hawaii for eight days.

We arrive to their beautiful three level home south of Salt Lake City, Utah., after two days or wrenching, vomiting and pooping it all out in the motor home. We are not sure if it was food poisoning or an immobilizing virus, and what does it matter? Lots of things do not matter now. I am weak, vulnerable, and dizzy after not eating for a couple of days. Grandpa Drew is happy he is beginning to get a brief glimpse of feeling hungry again.

Drew’s daughter has prepared a beautiful Easter dinner of spiral cut ham with a sweet sauce, twice baked buttery potatoes and asparagus. She is especially proud of her cupcakes straight out of Martha Stewart’s magazine with little Easter symbols on top of the lime custard whipped cream, featuring bunnies, eggs, carrots and other decorations welcoming Spring.

I know it must have all been delicious. I have no recollection of eating anything at all, but I do recall the lingering smells and the feeling of delight that we were present to join our children and grandchildren for Easter dinner.

I am certain I hugged and kissed each precious little heart and soul and body of our four grandchildren. The five year old greeted me with strep throat and an invitation to pour his pink medicine. Our eleven year old granddaughter was barefoot due to a lingering foot fungus. The fourteen month old baby was cutting teeth and grieving being weaned from his mother’s breast for two weeks. And, finally, our seven year old has a bad attitude. Slowly, but surely, in the next few days, each of these “gifts” appeared in the bodies of two sixty-five year olds, and it would not be pretty.

Babalu and Lola, our seven year old poodles, are mesmerized with all the activity. Lola learns quickly to run upstairs and hide in her bed which she has moved under the bed where Drew and I are sleeping. Having pulled a buttock muscle lifting the baby out of his crib, I am restless and unable to find comfort.  I can walk up and down the three flights of stairs if I hold onto the rail. Thank God for a strong upper body. My self-made prescription is to stop lifting the baby out of his crib and carry nothing weighing over five pounds.  Drew is not happy.

Grocery shopping is Drew’s salvation. Every morning after Mr. Brown Trail/Yellow Pond, our new nickname for the baby, goes down for his nap, Drew comes into the kitchen. “Let’s make a list,” he says. We proceed to make a list long enough to give Drew his desired time away and alone. As a nice side benefit, our daughter will have enough canned goods and paper products for a year by the time we leave.

We are now two days into our grand parenting adventure. My throat is raw and scratchy. I call my doctor from afar begging for a Z pack, some decongestant, and whatever else he recommends for adults who are sleeping in the same house with four children. One day later, Drew has the same symptoms and I am more than happy to share my meds.  We are walking around in a virus infested, bacteria filled, fungus producing 4,000 square foot house, unable to open doors and windows since the rain and wind and cold have blessed us each day of the visit.

With a couple of days remaining, we begin to gather our belongings. We chat with the children each night at dinner about how each feels about our performance so far. The ratings on a scale of 1-10 range anywhere from 5-9.5. Our granddaughter offers, “It’s going ok, but you may be getting a little too old.” And, the seven year old continues, “I’m not sure you know that much about children.” Drew reminds them I have a master’s degree in child development. Not one of them is impressed.

I love these children and their parents who want us to become more involved in their lives, but I now know why God did not give me kids. I can barely take care of myself. I would have been one of those moms who did something awful to her children in a flight of desperation. I would have lied to my family and friends and neighbors about how wonderful the kids were doing and how I loved being their mother. I would have failed miserably.

For each of you who has actually birthed or adopted a child, reared that child to adulthood and continues to function in mind and spirit, you deserve a place in heaven, no matter what awful things you may think or do for the rest of your life.

Our requested grand parenting responsibilities are over for now and we are alive and well enough. May each of us have stories to tell and memories to last a lifetime.


©Jane Scott 2014


Jane Scott writes for pleasure, self-reflection and humor. The more she writes, the more she recalls stories to share with family and friends.



  1. Carole Ann Kaplan says:

    Janie, I re-read your wonderful story of your visit with those wonderful four grandchildren. The grandchildren are going to love reading this story of the time Abuela and Abuelita came to visit. I surely did. Keep writing and sharing. Love your work.

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