I had a conversation with a gentleman about being a grandparent. This man is in his early 70’s. He said he thought he was a good parent, but that he was not a very good grandparent. His major complaint was “squealy little girls” give him a headache.
I recall my Hubby, at first, was quite uncomfortable with small ones in the house. He seemed to conveniently disappear into his office when the grandbabies came for a visit and then magically reappear just in time to receive a goodbye hug. So I shared with him my story:
I never really knew my own grandparents. My mother’s
parents would have been so interesting to talk to as they were true immigrants
that arrived in this country through Ellis Island in the 1920’s. They survived
the Great Depression and their three boys were all military service members for
our country. My mother was the youngest by more than 13 years of her
closest-aged brother and the only girl. Needless to say, they all passed away
before I ever really knew their importance in my life.
My father’s parents lived to be in their 80’s. They lived
a few hours south of us and we only ventured to see them twice per year;
Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday. The family would gather for a large meal, the
adults would chat about “adult” things and the children complained of boredom,
then we packed up in the car and drove home with a load of leftovers and the
sweet anticipation of getting out of those holiday clothes.
My own parents were not hands-on grandparents either. I
usually had to force my children to spend time with them. There wasn’t much
child-friendly conversation or activities. Once again, the visits dwindled to
holiday gatherings, eating a large meal, adults talking about adult things and
I swore this would not be how my grandchildren would
relate to me. I told Hubby he was not living that way either. Life is too short
to miss out on the people in your life. We will show up to every softball game,
every beauty pageant, every birthday party. We will have them over on
random-no-reason days for random-no-reason events and we will have sleepovers. We will teach them sports and craft projects and bake things from scratch. They will enjoy visiting with us and spending time with us and getting to know us as their grandparents as we get to know them.
Hubby came around quickly to my way of thinking. The grandbabies love him like crazy, they spend a lot of time together and he always seems to have pudding, ice cream or cookies…is that bribery?