My Word: Transported Back

3 June 2014 Lorraine Pink

My Word: Transported Back

Lorraine Pink, Ed#459, May 2014

Lorraine Pink is getting younger every year, thanks to her  two-year-old grandson.

It was the eve of my 55th birthday and I had made no plans to do anything. This wasn’t unusual for me as my birthday is shortly after Christmas, so most people are still on holiday. My oldest son, Jordan, called and said he was coming to visit with his family and they were going to make me lunch!

The day was lovely and sunny, but not too hot, and just after midday I could see the car pulling into the drive. Two-year-old Finn leapt out of the car as soon as his belt had been unbuckled and went round to the boot. “Presents,” he said, pointing very seriously at the back of the car.

Jordan opened the boot and Finn reached in and pulled out a large, oblong-shaped gift wrapped in pink paper. It was almost as big as Finn was, but he insisted on carrying it into the house. “No, Mum,” he said, when Liza offered to assist. It was difficult to manoeuvre the present up the winding stairs to my front door, but Finn was quite determined. I turned to see what else needed to be taken inside and offered to carry my newest grandson, Sam. At only four months old, he was much bigger than his brother had been at the same age.

Jordan and Liza took in the baby and started preparing lunch, while I played with Finn. Our favourite thing to do is make train tracks and then connect all the carriages in our collection together, to make the longest possible train. Then we have to pull it along the track and over the bridge without the train breaking. Finn especially loves bridges and tunnels and will often recite a Thomas the Tank Engine story to himself while playing.

I get quite sentimental when playing this game with Finn and I feel transported back to a time when his dad was the same age and we were learning all about dinosaurs.

When I had Jordan, I was a new immigrant in Australia and only 23 years old. He was born the day after the first anniversary of our arrival in Australia.

I remember bringing him home from the hospital and feeling like a proper grown-up. For the first few months, I felt quite overwhelmed by the responsibility of being in charge of a small person and completely terrified at times that I might break him.

When he cried and cried and it was difficult to settle him, I sometimes worried that I wasn’t doing it right. As well as trying to learn how to be a mother, I was still struggling with being in a new country, being a wife and running a household. Doing all of it well seemed to be important to me.

I feel so much freer and lighter when I spend time with my grandchildren.  I am able to be in the moment and not be distracted with chores.

I don’t worry if I am doing it right.  I am not bothered by what others think about my child-rearing skills, and have learned that there isn’t really a wrong way of looking after your child.

All children really need is to be loved, and listened to, and now I can think of no other way I would like to spend my time than hanging out with them. There is no better feeling than being woken up by my grandson in the wee hours of the morning and feeling him snuggle up and whisper in my ear “Anna Rain!” (his version of ‘Nana Lorraine’) “Let’s go and feed the birds!”

In the moments just before I am properly awake, I sometimes think it’s my baby sister jumping into bed with me, or my son coming for a cuddle. Then I realise it’s little Finn! And that  I am a Nana now.

When I became a mother I felt old… Well, grown-up. But now that I am a grandmother, I feel young again.

I am not sure why I was in such a hurry to be an adult back then; spending time with Finn has brought back so many memories of what being a child was like.

I am reminded of the freedom of having no responsibilities at all, when life was so much simpler and I was just living in the moment.

I am not getting older with each birthday; I’m getting younger!

» Lorraine Pink is the Editorial Coordinator of The Big Issue,  a grandmother to two boys and  an expert train-track builder.

This article first appeared in Ed#459 of The Big Issue magazine.