Oh, I knew how to be a mother, having had four children of my own, but being a YaYa is something totally different altogether. Things shifted somewhere and the rules were definitely not the same. As a mother, I knew I had a huge responsibility raising my kids. I had to provide structure and discipline for them and I realized very quickly that we may not be friends while I was raising them but one day that would come. With a grandchild, it is different.
I had always heard people talk about how being a grandparent was different but never really understood it until I became one myself. This job is not filled with the same responsibilities that come with the the job of parenting. I am the fun person, the friend, the one who gets up in the tree house with picnic lunches for two, spends hours playing mermaids in the swimming pool and doesn't mind when finger painting if the paint gets all over both of us. Yes, this job of being a YaYa is definitely an easier one than being a parent.
I knew this day would come, however, I never realized it was so close around the corner. While we were playing and having fun something happened: Parker Ann grew up enough to be able to attend school. All day long. With a lunchbox, backpack and nap mat. Oh no...school. This fact made me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I know she is so ready to meet new friends and learn new things but sad because those lazy days of early childhood have slipped away in the wind. Oh, we will still have weekends and holidays and, of course, the entire summer. But this is a change and one I know so well.
But Parker Ann will still be my "little" girl no matter where she is in life and I will forever keep all of these wonderful memories we have made together in a very special place inside my memory to take out and smile at as she continues to grow up and I grow older. She taught me how to be a YaYa. With that first smile, snuggle, kiss and coo. She had me. I will never be the same.