As grandparents we are given new opportunities to play, love and appreciate seeing the little ones grow, mature and develop into loving human beings. Not that we didn’t see that with our own children but the stresses of parenthood, lifestyles and jobs sometimes got in our way. As grandparents we can find new ways to strengthen family ties, and provide joyful memories and valuable life lessons, in no particular order!
So why appreciate the grandparents?
• We provide the children with an opportunity to share in the things that we are passionate about and have the time to share. For example, we could read lots and lots of books or watch many movies over and over again the ways little kids like to. At the same time, we get to see the world through younger eyes.
• We may have hobbies or special skills that parents have no time for. We could find the time to bake or sew or garden and build things or fly kites and go fishing. We could provide kids with the time and tools needed to learn these skills.
• We teach them how to respect elders and that it is healthy to have a close relationship with someone at the opposite end of the age spectrum. They learn positive attitudes towards aging and lifestyles.
• We provide expanded support and encouragement to the children. We will cheer them on to the ends of the earth.
• Sometimes, we provide wisdom and input that only comes from experience that parents do not yet have.
• We get to interact with the children on a level that is once removed from the day-to-day responsibilities of parents so we could bond very nicely.
• From near or far (don’t count us out even we are in another state) we can provide continuity in a child’s life, visits, phone calls, skype. We do make ourselves available.
• We are the historians of our family and children do listen. The older we get, the more we remember. Both younger and older kids enjoy learning about their ancestors and relatives. We can even provide paper and drawing supplies so they can chart the family tree.
• We’re usually the cheapest babysitters you’ll ever find.
No one can ever describe to you what it feels like being a grandparent and I guess it’s different for each of us. For me, it is comparable to being a parent in that I feel all the love, but I have a very small cut of the work and duties. Parenting is as tough as it gets, grandparenting is easier.
Although our role as grandparents is important– offering significant and valuable input to both our children and grandchildren– truthfully, most of the time it is just plain fun! So, be grateful for grandparents because we are certainly grateful for grandchildren.
By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, author, educator, and grandmother.