“How are your grandchildren?”
Often as not, this is how I am greeted these days. It used to be that people would ask me how I was but it has changed. And it’s because I can hardly wait to talk about the kids. (If you are new to this blog, go the website, search grandma and you will see the previous posts).
The next question is, “What is it like to be a grandma?” One huge difference between grandparenting and parenting is the opportunity to truly be in the moment every time I am with the kids. For example, let’s say one of the kids needs his diaper changed. I can pick him up and take him to his changing table all the time talking to him, or smiling or singing and simply change him. So easy.
His parents have to consider a much bigger picture. Are there diapers in the house? Is the sheet on the changing table clean? Is there a clean change of clothes should he need them? When I am with my grandchildren I have none of the big picture concerns and distractions.
Now, this is not to say that their parents are not paying attention to them, it’s just that their responsibilities are broader and more time consuming.
Often parents are keen to see their kids grow up and sleep through the night, be able to walk, eat regular food and be toilet trained. And I get that and remember it well. But, as Grandma, I am in no hurry for these landmarks. I enjoy them but I can simply wait. Of course, I am not being awakened at night, preparing special foods or dealing with all the lifting and carrying.
One terrific highlight of being Grandma is watching my children parent and being thrilled with what I see. Not only are my kids great parents, their partners are equally so and they work together as a team. I relax and let them do their job.
I have also learned to listen to my children about my grandkids and heed their wishes and advice. They are, after all, the parents. I have learned to try to offer explicit help rather than a vague offer. And very importantly, because I am not a particularly young grandmother have learned to determine my limits and respect my body and its’ needs.