Why Grandparents Are The Best
I would consider myself lucky, for the fact that I had 3 living, active-in-my-life grandparents for the first 16 years of my life. My parents were both born & raised in my hometown, and a majority of my extended family stayed there long-term. I grew up thinking it was abnormal if someone’s grandparents WEREN’T at every family event/party/dinner once a week.
On my side of the family, my kids are grandkids #2 & 3. Within 5 months, my mom went from having no grandkids to 3 (and from having 1 married daughter to 3, but that’s a different story). She had her “grandma name” picked out, my old room was already prepped to be a grandkid playroom, and she was READY. On my husband’s side, however, we completely blindsided them with grandkid #1 & 2. My husband is the 2nd oldest and we moved very quickly in our relationship. Just to give you a quick picture: we started dating in winter 2015, got engaged summer 2016, married in fall 2016, had our boys winter 2016. You do the math. . . these babies were a huge surprise.
I also know I’m lucky that my boys have all 4 living, active-in-their-lives grandparents, and hopefully will for many, many years as a result of having such young parents. My parents and my in-laws are also the amazing types of grandparents that don’t try to correct your parenting or step on our toes or beg to be allowed in the delivery room. They respect us and our decisions when it comes to our children, and are there to help ANY way they can in a moment’s notice.
This all sounds perfect, right? Here’s the catch: we live in Texas. My parents? New Mexico (11 hr drive). My in-laws? Michigan (24 hr drive). But despite the distance, my kid’s grandparents still do all these wonderful things that grandparents do, and that my grandparents did for me.
- Grandparents just let kids live. They aren’t worried about “screen time” or the amount of sugar in snacks. While this might not be the ideal environment for a child to be raised in, I think leniency on grandparent visits can be harmless & fun.
- They say yes when mom and dad say no.
- They tell the best stories.
- They are always ready to play. Mom & Dad might be busy or tired and not want to play, but Grandma & Grandpa have cleared their day to just PLAY. You want to rewatch that Disney movie 3 times? We’ll sing along together. Play with Barbies, or Legos, or bubbles for 5 hours? Great, do you want a snack first? (see #8)
- They always have the best food. Whether it’s eating out for every meal or elaborate holiday dinners, grandparents know how to keep a kid fed.
- They never forget a birthday.
- They always have a question about technology. There are few things more frustrating for a 10 year old tech-savvy girl than explaining, over the phone nonetheless, what a pause button is to her grandpa because his music won’t stop. (this was the same man who never understood that “apps” was a word and spelled it out A-P-P-S’s.) Sometimes, though, I wonder if it’s all an elaborate ruse to get grandkids to come over to “help”, when they really just want to spend more time with you.
- They always. have. candy. My maternal grandma’s go-to was Tic Tac’s, and the taste of them still transports me to a sunny afternoon in her sunporch, playing marbles with my sister. My paternal grandma had bowls upon bowls of every candy imaginable. . .but it was always a gamble on how old/hard it was.
- They’re there to cheer you on. Whether it’s laughing at a joke that isn’t actually funny, or attending another sports event, you can count on grandparents to show up. They’ve lived long enough to know that showing up is always worth it. And even if they don’t understand modern job opportunities like “drone operator”, “indoor spin instructor”, or “social media coordinator”, they support you in your career endeavors.