As a grandmother, I am receiving the big pay-off. You know what I mean… the darling grandchildren, who come when I want them to, laugh at my silly jokes, wear the sweaters I knit for them and then go home with their mothers and fathers. Being a grandparent, in my estimation, is a chance to live as close to a perfect life as possible. But I know that it isn’t this way for all grandparents.
So let me have a word with you young parents who have parents involved in your children’s lives. I know, they drive you crazy with their advice to put a nip of whiskey in your baby’s bottle to stop colic, with buying your kids clothes with puffy sleeves or for refusing to feed your baby organic foods because after all, “you turned out just fine.”
Be patient with us please. Many of us grandparents are doing the best that we can. We are trying to love your children the best way we know how, but we need a little help.
And hey, consider yourself lucky that we want to be involved. Many of us had parents who wanted nothing to do with watching grandchildren, going to our kids’ sports events or feeding them foods that are off limits. Most of us are doing the best that we can and I’ll admit, often doing it backwards.
Please take time this weekend, and often, to offer a thank you to a grandparent. Show a little appreciation for our efforts because, well, we’re more tired than you are.
And to you grandparents (and yes, I’m writing to myself) we need to establish better boundaries and buy a roll of duct tape. No, we don’t have the right to be in the delivery room, the right to spank grandchildren if parents say no and we don’t have the right to really, much of anything else. Time with our grandchildren is a gift. These children feel like they are ours, but they aren’t.
After my granddaughter’s first birthday I finally confessed a terrifying secret that I kept from my daughter.
I gathered the courage to tell her that when I first held my granddaughter in the hospital after she was born, I had an overwhelming urge to run out of the room with her and take her home. (Can you see why I waited a year to tell my daughter?)
The truth is, as much as we want to tell our grown children how to raise our grandchildren, we can’t. Our grandchildren belong to our children and that means that they have the right to choose the food they feed them, the school they send them to and the clothes they put on them- even if all of their clothes are gray. Our job is to honor their parenting and let them know this.
And the duct tape? This is one of the best grandparent tools available. If we want to maintain close relationships with the parents of our grandchildren, we must be ready to tear off a strip at a moment’s notice and stick it over our mouths.
Yup. I have learned that the older our kids get, the less we should say if we want to stay close to them- especially when it comes to giving unsolicited parenting advice. So this Grandparent’s day, take a moment to thank your children for the opportunity to be involved in their wonderful kids’ lives.