I’m known to say weird things. For example, when my kids were still toddlers I would say, “I can’t wait to be a grandmother. I will be awesome.” (refer to this post). I am pretty sure I’ll eat my words some day but for now, I keep thinking grandparents have it SO MUCH BETTER than parents. In some families the grandparents have declared that they will never babysit. Sometimes a grandparent is the primary parent so they don’t have the luxury to be the grandparent. Some families live in the same zip code as the grandparents yet never seem to see each other. While some families live in a different country than the grandparents but FaceTime every week. Some families have no living grandparents and yet there are 8 sets of grandparents in Brene Brown’s family. This Grandparents Day, September 11, 2016, I am so grateful for my family and look forward to the grandparent bonding that will continue to grow, hopefully, each year.
My mom, known as Lola, comes from CA to stay with us in MPLS for the entire month of December. Unlucky for her that my son’s birthday is at the beginning of December and my daughter’s birthday is at the end. December in MPLS is not exactly ideal but Lola weathers it because she can’t miss their birthdays and we also love having her here for the holidays. Last year, we were fortunate that she was able to give up her CA lifestyle in order to help us by staying for 10 weeks! And each year we spend some days with Lola every Spring/Summer when we go to CA for vacation. All of the time she spends with the kids is nice, however, she does very little to bond with them. Besides childcare (turning on the TV), Lola’s primary role has been thoughtfully leading my kids in our faith and prayers. Thanks Lola! Tap on the picture below.
My mother-in-law answers to the name of CeCe by my two kids, Carole by the older three grandkids and Nana by the other four grandkids. CeCe comes from CA for a week long visit during Thanksgiving every year. She arrives with gifts in hand and recipes to serve the perfect meals. CeCe is notorious for keeping traditions alive with her pie making, tea parties, decorating the Advent wreath and gingerbread house making. She loves to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and our walks around the lake for our pre-turkey dinner exercise. All of these traditions are so priceless and mean a lot to my kids. What always cracks me up is she spends at least seven days with us in the Fall and without fail, after she gets back to CA, she calls me in a panic to see what the kids would like for their birthdays and Christmas. The bonding, although very active, is surprisingly minimal. When we are in CA during the Summer, we spend some time with CeCe (together with Lola) and this year, before Easter, she spent thirteen days with us. She is very thoughtful in carrying out her traditions and she puts so much effort into getting the kids just the right gifts. A few gifts are thoughtful pinches but most are the real deal ($ cha-ching $). Thanks CeCe! Tap on the picture below.
Last, but not least, my father-in-law and his wife are known as Grandpa Tom and Grammy Jo. They come from CA every year for Father’s Day weekend. We spend the least amount of time with these grandparents due to geographical and vacation challenges. When they come, they bring gifts and a ukulele. Usually the gifts are not toys - it’s memorabilia from a trip or something special they want to pass long to the kids. Grandpa Tom throws the baseball with my son and Grammy Jo goes over swim techniques with my daughter. We have lovely meals together at home. Singing along to the ukulele and kids’ talent shows for the grandparents are inevitable. Each year, my daughter and Grandpa Tom fill out a book together and in the process they are learning a lot about each other. We love to look back in the book and read the entries from previous years. Since their trips are always short and we do not see them during the rest of the year, there isn’t much time to bond. Grandpa Tom and Grammy Joe thoughtfully provide stories and music that the kids look forward to every year. Thanks Grandpa Tom and Grammy Jo! Tap on the picture below.
Bonding seems to be something I never really considered when I would declare the ease of being the best grandmother (a.k.a. Lola) ever. I have found that WANTING a bond between a parent and child is one thing but actually HAVING the bond is another. Just hanging out with the kids - no strings attached - is magical. Free of scheduling playdates, making sure the kids’ personal hygiene needs are met, signing up for soccer, putting the kids to bed at the best time, paying close attention to what the kids are eating and carpooling to ballet. The job of being a grandparent sounds so easy but something tells me there's a lot more to it. For this, I am grateful for the grand folk in our family. Hope they like our thoughtful pinches this year!