The joys of (grand)parenting

Spotlight columnist Merrilyn Huycke explores grandparenting

We are expecting another grandchild in the next month or so and it has set me to thinking about the pleasures of being a grandparent. Don’t despair if you don’t have a grandchild in your life. You can always borrow a youngster for a few hours from a harried mom or dad. We have been blessed with three so far and from my observation,

it isn’t likely the parent will refuse.

Here are some of the reasons this is such a pleasant thing to do. When they are babies, parents, who are usually your children, are so absolutely grateful for a little respite from the twenty-four hour grind of feeding, changing diapers and trying to figure out why on earth this kid is crying like that.

We can smile graciously and say, “You were like that,” and, “I didn’t sleep for two solid years when you were a baby!” Or, the first time the little one decides to go on a hunger strike and your child, the parent of your grandchild, is convinced the little one will die within hours. You reassure them by telling how they themselves lived on nothing but frozen peas for a whole year. Of course these may be slightly exaggerated accounts but I must confess, I have done this to my own children on occasion in a shameless fit of remembrance of my own fears and anxieties.

The upside is you see what wonderful people your own children have become. You see the amazement in their eyes, the joy they feel. You marvel at their maturity and their ability to feel love that transcends the worries and exhaustion you know they are feeling.

You remember how you worried about them, wondering if they would ever be able to get out of bed in time for school, would ever remember to look before crossing the street or learn how to save their allowance. And here they are, beginning the long journey of raising your grandchild and teaching the same lessons plus a few you never thought of.

You are just so proud, and admit it, maybe even a little surprised.

Of course, the greatest pleasure of spending time with your grandchild is that they just love you. They come with a completely different set of standards. You are amazing to them. All you have to do is be yourself. As long as you have time to cuddle or read a story, or better, listen to their stories, you are awesome. You can take forever to get ready to go out. One of our granddaughters literally threw her tiny body against the front door, spreadeagled, to prevent the rest of us from leaving the house till Grandpa had his shoes on. She bellowed in her best two-and-a-half year old drill sergeant voice that we must wait for him. I was thoroughly impressed.

They have no prejudice regarding appearance. It may be a matter of curiosity but never of judgement. They are fascinated with such things as glasses, wrinkles, and best of all, removable teeth. Apparently, that is the coolest thing ever and endlessly mystifying.

When they grow out of babyhood, they become quite serious and share their observations about life. It’s astounding how sensible their ideas are.

The good news is that as we grow old, we have the opportunity to come back to our senses and see the wisdom of unconditional love and of taking the time for others.

 

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