I always knew being a grandparent would be a joy, but I had no idea just how grand it would become, or that the role would compare to experiencing heaven on earth. Being a parent is pretty fabulous in its own sense, especially when you notice your positive teachings surface in your child, or they choose to do the right thing. You pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, “So, they were listening after all!” It’s a proud moment.
But those grandbabies… wow. People say, “The best thing about taking care of grandkids is that you get to love and play with them, then give them back to their parents and wave goodbye!” I never understood that statement. Since I became “Grammy,” not once have I ever looked forward to saying goodbye to those mini-human huggables!
To the contrary, I will never forget the heartbreak when my first grandson became smart enough to recognize “goodbye” for reals. I held him all the way to my car, then handed him over to his daddy. Upon driving away, I stole a look in my rearview mirror and there they stood: little one sobbing in my son-in-law’s burly arms, my little prince’s tiny hands outstretched while his weepy face mouthed “Gra-mmy!!” All I could think was, “I know, little one… Grammy doesn’t want to leave you, either!” And I, too, shamelessly bawled all the way to the freeway.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought when I was a normal pre-Grammy individual and people would go on and on about this grandparent phenomenon. I’d smile, listen, and wonder: when would they stop drooling over them already? Now, I’ve become one of them!
We’re a quirky bunch, having spent so many decades teaching and role-modeling that the door swings wide open now for fun and games. The recipients are those little people who came from our own grown children, who so desperately desire to be the parents we were.
So, it’s no surprise that when we let the grandkids jump on our bed or enjoy dessert midday, young parents look at us with annoyance as if we’ve broken a house rule. In a sense, we have. But in Grandparents’ World, our Golden Rule goes as follows: Do unto grandkids as they wish! As long as there is an abundance of laughter, hugs, and tons of smooches – we’re good!
It’s not that we want to spoil them blindly; their safety and well-being are still top priority. In fact, we may be even more protective of them than we were with our own offspring. We still teach them morals and manners – it just includes giggles and glee.
We grandparents enjoy the freedom to let the grandkids happily lead the way, often back to our own childhood wonders. Just yesterday, my two grandsons were proudly exhibiting their newfound trick – snapping their fingers! When I did it, too, their eyes grew wide as saucers over Grammy instantly mastering the skill, thinking it was they who taught me. To great accolades, we played that up forever. “Great job, Grammy!”
And so it goes, this grand club of ours – the Kingdom of Grandparents. If one of us is under the weather, just mention the word “grandchild” and watch face and demeanor change instantly; the topic relieves all stress, strain, and pain.
Hopefully, we aren’t too annoying, as it’s highly unlikely we’ll outgrow this behavior. So, if you get stuck with one of us and we start yakking away about the little munchkins, just listen, smile, and enjoy all the drooling!
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer
National Grandparents Day
September 10, 2017
Grandparents Day is always celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. Be sure to take the time to honor and celebrate your grandparents.
“Throughout our history, grandparents have guided their children and grandchildren through trial and triumph. For many of us, our grandparents were among our earliest teachers and caregivers. They have added immeasurably to the strength of our families, and with compassion and wisdom, they have enriched our lives with the stories of those who came before us. On National Grandparents Day, we give thanks to those who helped raise us and pay tribute to a generation that still inspires us toward brighter horizons.
Our grandparents set the course of an American century. They have witnessed great milestones in our Nation’s history, and from the battlefield to the factory floor to their neighborhoods, our grandparents’ tireless pursuit of progress has paved the road that we travel today. Just as they helped shape the country we know and love, so have they shaped each of us into who we are as individuals. Our grandmothers and grandfathers have profoundly influenced every part of our society, and as their grandchildren, it is incumbent upon all of us to provide them with the care and support they so deeply deserve.
Today, we honor America’s grandparents, and we celebrate their indelible contributions to family, community, and country.”
–President Barack Obama