Caller: Officer, I would like to report a missing lap.
Officer: Lap, Mam?
Caller: Yes, lap. My lap is missing.
Officer: Er, well, Mam, ah…when did you notice it was missing?
Caller: Well, it started a couple of years ago.
Officer: Mam, I’m not sure we can help you with this?
Caller: I certainly don’t know why! If I was losing money in my bank account bit by bit, you would be right on it. I am losing my lap!
Yep, the older I get the more lap I lose. Well, I still have a lap but it is getting used less and less. My older granddaughters are in their teens. Sometimes they still try to sit on it. The twins are so busy being preschoolers that lap time is diminishing in importance. I am missing lap time.
I have a sweet picture of my mother holding my son when he was attending Northwestern. This young man sitting on my little mom is a beautiful thing to behold. He laughing and Mom’s face is full of pure joy. Maybe it is the mom instinct that we have built in that makes us want to embrace our children still trying to retain that feeling that began when they were newborn babies. Maybe it is the feeling of holding something that was part of us returning that piece of us back where it once belonged….even if only for a few moments.
Yesterday I sat on the floor playing with the 3-year-olds. Emma draped across me wanted me to tickle her tummy. Nolan leaped on me wanting me give him attention. It was then that I noticed that my lap was not big enough. My old body was not as flexible or resilient as it had been with my older grandchildren. It was a struggle to stay in the moment and embrace what I had. I cherished what I had. The picture of mom and this son of mine flashed before my eyes, and I understood what Mom was feeling in those few seconds she embraced her grown grandson.
Life goes so quickly. More quickly when you have children in your life, where you can measure time by the size the child. Sometimes as a grandparent it is a struggle to keep up and to find that extra energy that was so readily available when you had your own children. I never understood how grandparents could be happy to send the kids home to their parents. I know that the moments I have with them are fleeting. I will not get them back again.
In being involved with grandkids, creativity is a must. And, it is a benefit to us in keeping us younger. Each time I go to see the little ones, I try to introduce them to something new. Graham Crackers have become MeMe’s special sugar crackers. Glue and construction paper. Crayons and blank sheets of paper. Last week I took a book of kids’ placemats to them. They were a hit. Mom and Dad can tear out a new sheet to take along to a restaurant. The kids pick out their favorite for each meal. Learning comes to the table. It takes time to be involved with grandchildren. Sometimes it even takes stepping back in time to introduce them to something that I played when I was a kid. My favorite activities are those where the kids crawl up onto my lap.
The lap is a poorly recognized. It offers comfort. A place to make boo-boos better. A warm spot to fall to sleep. A place of healing for an ailing child. A great place to sit when you read a book or watch a Daniel Tiger. A place where MeMe tickles toes and tummies. A lap that is a bit flatter with these sixty plus years. A lap that has a history of those kids who sat on it.
Santa’s lap is very important and revered. I truly think my lap is just as important. My lap remembers the children who sat there.