Some people learned everything they needed to know about life from Kindergarten. I, on the other hand, learned everything I needed to know from my grandparents. I was fortunate enough to live close to both sets of living grandparents, and I am forever grateful for that opportunity.
What I learned
I learned so much from my grandparents. They taught me how to fish, sew, cook, solve problems, manage household chores, draw, embroidery, ride a bike, swim, drive a boat, camp, and get along with others.
Growing up I was unable to see just what a gift these relationships were, and I am sure I took the time we had for granted. Now, as my grandparents have aged considerably, I am the one to care for them. I advocate for their health and medical care and look after their daily living needs. I still enjoy sitting around in the evening listening to the incredible stories of change that they can share. My grandpa’s life began with no television, and now he texts me on his iPad!
Motherhood and Grandparents
When I became a mother, I was so grateful for the role that grandparents would play in the lives of my children. However, I was also focused on whether or not they would follow my parenting rules, and if they would be able to understand what my children needed. I was also concerned about respect and boundaries. I have learned that all of these things are important, but the most important thing is the bond and relationship between the grandparent and child. You cannot force it to grow, but if it takes root and blossoms, everyone will benefit.
My parents are actively involved in the lives of my children. They work hard to balance their work schedules with the activities of my children. Often times this means traveling several hours in one day to attend Grandparents Day activities. Or sometimes driving far to attend a special play on a weeknight right before Christmas. They truly focus on the happiness and well being of my kids, and not on my sometimes ridiculous rules, or on their selfish needs.
Thoughts for the future
When I really think about it, it must be difficult to be a grandparent. It involves watching their child make different decisions for their own children than they may have made. Or to have to follow rules in caring for their grandchildren. However, I am so grateful for their examples. Our children are loved by more people, and that alone is simply beautiful. I am taking these lessons to heart, and giving back the love that has been given to me. I can only hope I will have the privilege to be a grandparent one day.
So to all of the Grandparents out there who are building up relationships with their grandchildren, thank you. Also, all the special family friends who are adding more love to the life of children, thank you.