I've always heard that the best thing about being a grandparent is that you can send "them" home.
I used to find that offensive. I changed my mind.
For the first time in the nearly 27 years I have worked at this newspaper, I was home for 10 days during the holidays. My home was the hub of festive celebrations that included parties with family and friends, a consistent flow of daily guests and frequent visits with my adorable granddaughters.
Throughout the 10 days, I found myself constantly cleaning the kitchen, my least favorite room in the house.
Some nights, I was physically drained. The couch and the remote became my best friends. For the first time in five years as a grandmother, there were a couple of times (I really don't like admitting this) I wanted quiet. No SpongeBob. No Scooby-Doo. No Dora. No Barbies. No noise.
And no guilt, right?
Just because you can send them home, doesn't mean you won't have guilt, especially if one has to be carried out crying because she wants to be with you.
My oldest granddaughter is very passionate, so her tears almost caused me to cave on one of the two times I opted out of "playing."
We made eye contact as she was being carried out the door. I saw the bewilderment in her beautiful green eyes. The child couldn't fathom why her grandmother, the one who can never get enough hugs and kisses, was not letting her stay. She saw my guilt. I hated myself -- for about five minutes. I was tired.
Not even 30 minutes later, my daughter called to tell me that my granddaughter was fine. In fact, she was giving a live performance of "The Nutcracker" in her living room.
When you're a parent or guardian, you're on duty 24/7, regardless of how tired you are. When you're the grandparent, your duty is flexible. It really is OK every now and then to say no.