Bearing Gifts: The Year-Round Nana Claus

I say, “Mama loves you. Daddy loves you. Nana loves you. Mimi loves you. Both pawpaws love you.”

C nods his perfect little chin, stares with inquisitive gray blue eyes, and utters, “Eehs. Ehsss.” It is his nineteen month old version of yes.

In spite of the restless heart and nomadic lifestyle of my twenties, my mom-soul is at peace back in my Texas hometown. Benefits of living near family and life-long friends never cease. One case in point is the Nana Claus. She is a crazy beautiful character as one can see by her resume.

NANA CLAUS

Mother to four sons and a daughter.

Grandmother to seven grandsons and C’s sitter for the majority of the first eighteen months of his life.

PROFESSIONS

  •    Computer Software tester
  •    Elementary School Teacher
  •    Sales professional at Macys
  •    Sales Professional at Palis Royal
  •    Sales Professional at Kohls
  •    C’s babysitter
  •    Gifted Coupon Poker Player

Nana’s poker face remains statuesque until that minimum wage cashier at Kohl’s department store painstakingly completes the final ring up of each little boy outfit. Plaid cargos. Little digger shirt. Khaki shorts. Size 4T sandals.

“You forgot the little socks. Aren’t those cute? They’re for my grandson.”

Then, Nana’s turn to play her hand. The clerk, who is contemplating what Starbuck Frappuccino to splurge on during her break, announces a total of $36.39. However, the poker-faced grandma throws down her hand: A 5% off member’s reward and ten dollars Kohl’s ca$h. New total = $19.98. POW!

Do not doubt that Nana Claus barely cracked a smile after a $100 spree reduced to 50 with her Royal Flush of 20% plus half off one item plus an extra 7% for charging it to her store credit card.

Whoever is her coupon dealer throws a pretty quick hand because most mornings Nana Claus showed up with a crunching shopping bag. My husband, who witnessed the morning arrival since I was already in first period, grew accustomed. C too knew his Nana was Saint Nicking it up. His tiny toddler feet padded over upon her entrance and reached up for the gift bag. I shall not be surprised if his early vocabulary includes Macys or Kohls.

(A SELF-DEPRICATING NOTE: I, on the other hand, am a thrifty recycling minimalist. My instinct to encourage C to play with donated Legos and reuse coloring books and dress C in my favorite pair of baby Levis every day of the week may weigh on the side of miserly. It does not really have to do with tremendous financial pains. Admittedly, I feel safer with old familiar objects. I want to explore every possibility of that ancient crazy looking wood horse before moving on to a shallow new toy fad. So I guess we all need a little (or a lot) of Nana Claus in our life.)

A teacher and a mom?

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” ~Proverbs 31:27

                               5 a.m. Alarm goes off. Pop up and silently feed the dogs, cat, and horse and don’t forget to feed yourself. Quick prep for work.

        6:15 a.m. Glance sorrowfully at the baby monitor before heading out and long to kiss baby C, but you don’t dare because daddy has to get up at 7 and prep for work.

7 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. Grade papers. Attend team meeting. Create assignments. Welcome, teach, assess about 120 freshman English students. CC parents on emails. Grade more.

          4:30 p.m. The best moment of every day is C’s welcoming you home. Even if he does not look up from his momentary venture, you wrap him in a hug.

                  8:30 p.m. Bittersweet bedtime for C. A few books in and he’s drifting off on your lap. A kiss. A soft tussle of hair in his crib. A moment for yourself.

9:30 p.m. “Hey babe. Where did the day go?” Your bedtime.

I returned to work when C was nine weeks old. God’s hand in providing the next best in-home babysitter than myself did not assuage the wrenching of my gut during the post-maternity leave upheaval. Sobs often overtook me during morning commutes. Never did the unbearableness of leaving my boy at home reveal itself to my students. Rarely did I perform at less than 100 percent when on my educator platform. Only my closest work colleagues knew the despair I suffered those first few weeks back and every time after a long holiday or summer. Beware teachers in the workroom when my mom, the babysitter, sent a pic because you will see it whether you want to or not, whether there is time to share or not!

Super hero nana held down the fort while J and I worked in our own fulfilling ways. It would have been impossible without nana’s close loving care of C and help around the house. Every minute of the four hours a day I had with C were devoted to him. Playing reading feeding bathing changing loving reading (I am an English teacher after all). J received the hour of time after little man’s bedtime. Idleness certainly took no seat at my table, but was I watching over my household the way I should be? Did, in fact, a complete lack of any moment of idleness wear my patience thin? After C neared the talking stage could I really spend 7/8ths of my day busy with other affairs? What would it harm to take a few years off anyways? 😉