published Monday, September 1st, 2014

Grand Thoughts: Grandkids are a gift, whether they're right next to you or not

My husband and I love being grandparents.

We're very fortunate that we get to see our grandchildren -- Tilleigh, 7; Evie, 4, and William, 2 -- nearly every day. They live next door.

And, since our daughter is a single mom, we help her out by keeping the children every Wednesday night and every other weekend. Any visitor to our home would think the children live with us based on the toys, children-sized furniture, etc., that's in every room of our home. We also have many "outside" toys including a 10-foot round, 20-inch deep pool on our deck. It's small but big enough that the kids have fun in it.

Last weekend was our weekend to keep the kids. They come down when we get home from work on Friday evenings and they go back home on Sunday morning. By that time, my husband, Hank, and I are exhausted. We've got very active grandchildren who not only play all they time, they're always hungry, too. Hank, being the cook in our family, spends a lot of time in the kitchen when the kids are at our house.

Though we adore our grandchildren, Hank and I have grown to appreciate our "alone" time together.

After the kids left Sunday, Hank and I worked for a couple hours in our garden and gathered eggs from our dozen chickens. It was very hot and, by the time we finished, we were soaked in sweat. But instead of jumping in the shower, we opted to jump in the pool -- the kids' pool. The water was cold and refreshing and, the longer we sat there, the better it felt.

Before we knew it, an hour had passed while we cooled off, talking about anything and everything. We knew we looked goofy as heck sitting in a kids' pool, but we didn't care. It was relaxing and felt good. And it was quiet.

The evening before, it was anything but quiet in the pool.

After we put William to bed, the girls wanted to turn on the white lights that line the railing on the deck and play in the pool. They call it "night swimming." Hank and I sat outside with them as they "performed" for us in the water. They put on skits, danced, pulled one another around on an inner tube until they wore themselves out.

The pool was a wise $60 investment.

But as Hank and I were cooling off in the pool, we realized that much of our conversation was about the grandchildren. We talked about the things they had done over the weekend, the things they said. We are convinced that Tilleigh will seek a profession that draws on her compassion to others or be on Broadway. Evie, we're pretty certain, will be president of the United States. William will head her presidential campaign. And they'll all be open-water swimmers.

These little folks grace our lives. And though we're pretty grateful when Sunday rolls around on our weekends with them; our lives would be empty without them.

Grandparenting is a gift. And we'll never take it for granted.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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