Grandchildren: A Shift in Focus

Joy on EarthMy first grandchild, Cameron John Shanahan, was born on April 8, 2014. I was looking forward to his arrival from the moment my son, Brian, and his wife, Pam, told me they were expecting. In fact, I jumped up and down and whooped like I had won the lottery when I heard the news. Now he is finally here, and I am a grandma. His birth has brought out unencumbered tenderness in me. Gone is the overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt with the birth of each of my children. It’s not my job to make sure he moves through the world safely. I can relax because Cam is in the most excellent of hands. Knowing that leaves me free to just love him.

Brian, Pam and Cam on Easter Sunday 2014

Brian, Pam and Cam on Easter Sunday 2014

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. ~Alex Haley

I had two marvelous grandmothers. Grandma Fahrner and Grandma Ragen were a stable presence in my life. They were interested in me and loved me for who I was. They were like the fairy godmother in Sleeping Beauty who used her magic to tone down the curse a wicked fairy had put on the newborn princess. My grandmas didn’t have the power to break the spell of being raised by maladjusted parents, but they could soften the blow. And soften the blow they did. Without them, I don’t know how I would have survived my upbringing.

With the dad and mom Cam is blessed with, he doesn’t need me to be his port in the storm. What I will give him is my time. I will answer his questions and look into his eyes when he talks to me. I will nurture his creativity and read to him. I will share with him what the world was like when I grew up and connect him to his ancestors. I will believe in his dreams. He will know I love him by the way my eyes light up when he enters the room.

My Grandma Fahrner, my brother Steve, me, and my Grandma Ragen on Mother's Day, 1958

My Grandma Fahrner, my brother Steve, me, and my Grandma Ragen on Mother’s Day, 1958

In Arianna Huffington’s wonderful book Thrive she writes of how Americans stress and obsess over the trivial things in their lives. She believes most people will only shift their focus to what is truly important when a crisis hits. A death or serious illness usually does it. I have decided I don’t need a catastrophe to let go of the inessential and pay attention to what really matters. I have a grandson.

My Grandson, Cameron John

My Grandson, Cameron John

Click here to sign up for email updates from my studio

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “Grandchildren: A Shift in Focus

  1. Congratulations and welcome to the club! I joined in 2006 and had my most recent 2 years ago March—a Cameron too! Wonderful post. You brought so many cherished elements together AND photos!


  2. Every day I count my blessings for the wonderful grandsons God has given me. They bring so much joy & laughter! And nothing beats the feeling when my grandsons look at me and put their arms out for me to hold them & give them some lovin’! Congratulations again, Sue! I know you’ll be a wonderful grandmother to Cam!


  3. Hi Sue, Congratulations and hang on for a wonderful ride with your new baby boy. Grandparents are special and grand-parenting is another opportunity to be humble, trust God, and let go. Blessings, Niji


  4. Congratulations Sue! What a beautiful baby boy … I know he will bring lots of happy moments for you and your family to enjoy for many years to come.

    Cheers~ Elena


  5. I’m so happy to have been introduced to your lovely artwork. I enjoy reading your stories.
    The idea of stopping one’s thoughts is intriguing. I obsess over the suffering of others,almost to the point where I feel guilty about my own blessings.
    It’s a good idea to just live in the present & absorb the goodness & beauty all around.
    I love your drawing of the precious baby sitting on the sunflower. It makes me smile.
    We’re expecting our 4th grandbaby in August. He’ll join a sister & a boy & girl cousins.
    Aren’t they wonderful?


    • Thank you so much for the lovely compliments about my artwork. So many of us feel like you, Lisa. I have had to work consistently at letting go of my obsessive thoughts. It’s a two steps forward and one step back process. Gratitude is a tool I use to keep me focused on the beauty of the now.

      Congratulations on grandbaby number four. There is nothing in life sweeter. xo


    • Thanks so much for the compliments about my art and blog. For me one of the easiest ways to unplug from obsessive thinking is by focusing on gratitude. Its hard to overthink things when you are observing all the good stuff in our lives.

      Congratulations on grandbaby number 4. Life is good.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s