04 December 2016

Who Are All These Kids!?!

We just celebrated a few big birthdays in the family. With the kids there is now an age range of teenager to baby.  We now have three thirteen-year-olds in the family. (not the Littles but three nephews) Sweet baby is coming up on nine months old.  The eldest boy is about to be fifteen.  And we have a three year old boy, no longer a baby as I tend to call him, on the other side of the family.  My adult nieces are now 21 and 24 years old.  Nephew will be 31 in January, Niece will be 35 in a few days.

I carry that feeling that I imagine grandma's do.  There's just a joy in having all these kids around.  It's astonishing to see them grow and become their own person.  Even more astonishing is watching their parents grow into parenthood and adulthood.

The Littles have very distinctly different personalities and now that they're ten, a person can see the individuals they are becoming.  One is super smart and skilled at humble-bragging, one is quiet and in their own imagination, and the other is pragmatic and very careful.

The Bigs...oh, they're so grownup now.  Biggest has a girlfriend and is no longer the nerdy little magician.  C2 is in that weird stage of trying to figure out how he fits in the grownup world, the school-ager world, and just the world in general.  Gosh, I hated being thirteen. 

Sweet baby is moments from walking.  He loves the guys in the family, he's a guys guy like his uncle Kevin.  He's pretty adventurous, if it comes to playing with his siblings or trying new foods, no matter.  He is all in.

The other nephew, same family but different parents, is also thirteen.  He is so socially awkward that it's almost painful.  He's going to school now so I've noticed that is starting to change.  The biggest hurdle he is facing, I believe, is that he has a coming-out in his future. The family is completely fine with that yet his parents seem to be rooted in denial.  "But he likes GIRLS!" his mother says "He loves Demi Lovato and..."  I just want to shout "He wants to do their HAIR and wear their SHOES, not date them!"  This is not a crisis, just something that time will take care of.

The other thirteen year old is Nephew's brother-in-law, whom they had temporary custody.  He's living with Nephew's sister-in-law, visits often, is doing very well in school and has acclimated from being essentially feral.  His "mother" remains in jail and should be there until he turns 18. He still is a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume, both in number and in sound, of all of us.

The grown nieces are doing well, in their own ways.  Eldest has an apartment, rented from her former stepmother (totally weird, right?) and has a long-term boyfriend who is a little on the odd side but very good to her.  (he randomly bursts into song...)  Youngest is still finding her way but has yet *KNOCK EFFING WOOD* to make any life altering mistakes.  No marriages, no pregnancies, no addictions.  She is much like me in  the Go Where the Wind Takes You way of living life.

George, my three-year-old nephew, has finally decided to talk  and holy buckets, he has a lot to say.  He narrates what he is doing or what you are doing, and it is adorable. His favorite thing to do is help, doesn't matter how big or little the task, if he's helping he is overjoyed.

The toughest part I have with this whole grandkid thing is watching the adults make decisions, sometimes what I would consider mistakes, and having to just be a passive spectator.  Instinct is to guide, advise, and frankly, shout. Bottom line is that it is their lives and their decisions, even if we know better.  I realize that this is every parent/significant family member in the world and not just me.  But if you know me in real life, you know I have no hesitation to advise and guide. 

Now we're entering the Christmas holiday where feelings of goodwill are abundant.  I will resist buying the kids All.The.Things and be excited to watch them open their presents.  We will continue to be the naughty NotGrandparents who open all the packaging against their parents wishes.  

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