As a child I remember very fondly going to each of my grandparents’ house. There was a unique style to both destinations. One house had strawberry candies waiting in a dish and the other we ate green beans from the can. One house had a pop-eye cup that was a bottomless source of TANG and the other was where I drank from mason jars, long before it was country-chic; in fact it was considered weird. One house had a hula doll and a truck full of cows and the other offered endless piles of pine needles and jars of pennies to count. I absolutely loved both of these houses and the grandparents that created these environments. I was blessed to have very loving grandparents that only lived an hour away. They came to my basketball games and school programs. I was one of the lucky ones, and the sad truth is, back then, I didn’t even know it.
That’s the thing, when you have wonderful grandparents, you know they are the best thing since sliced bread, but you also don’t know that your small little world could be any different. But now as a mother, I see the priceless worth that those grandparents provide. We now live 6 and 3.5 hours from my parents and my in-laws. And boy do we miss them! We are constantly on the go and traveling between Texas and Arkansas, but it doesn’t make our missing them any less. Children need that source of unconditional love, in addition to their primary caregiver. For my family, it is our parents, but in other families, it is a sweet neighbor or an adopted couple at church. Whoever it is, they are special.
To try and explain why this bond is so special I made a list. So please allow me to try share it with you. I titled it “Why Grandparents Rock”.
WHY GRANDPARENTS ROCK
1. Sweet Treats. No matter if they bake, buy, or unwrap those treats, they are good for the soul. It doesn’t always have to be what you, the parent, would choose. That is what makes it special…they never get it. This also totally applies to trips to loud, busy places such as Chuck-E-Cheese.
2. Wisdom. They have it because they have done life longer than you. They know how to tell their grandkids why earthworms dig in the dirt, and why we have toenails.
3. The Big Picture. Since they have lived through raising children and are on the side of having more time on their hands, they can afford to see the big picture. Like when my kids help working in the yard, or garden. When it is with me, I feel like it needs to be right because that’s our only shot. On the other hand, the grandparents can see that the experience is what makes the memories. And if it gets messed up, they can go back and fix it when we leave.
4. Babysitting. Now that we don’t live close to our family, we know what a luxury it was to be able to drop our children off (for free) and know that they will be having the time of their life.
5. Celebrations. We all could use an extra fan in our cheering section and my children have the biggest supporters there ever were. Our birthday parties and soccer games are well stocked with family. These are the people who cheer you on, even when a certain grandson decides he doesn’t want to play and sits on the sideline. They love watching every move that child makes.
6. Overnight Trips. I have a hard time leaving my children for a night out with my man. So when we took a week long trip out to Colorado, the grandparents came to rescue! And they didn’t make fun of me (to my face) when I text them a lengthy list of instructions for the kids.
7. Secrets. All children need to have a confidant. I’d prefer that confidant was me, but seeing as how I decide what they can and cannot do, it is good that they have someone they can turn to in addition to their parents. I’m confident that when the day comes and responsibility is slightly lacking in my children, their grandparents will be there to help encourage them to get back on track (and to go ahead and tell their mother.)
8. Success. The main point is that they raised you, and you survived.
If you are blessed to have your parents or grandparents in your life, pick up the phone and tell them how much you appreciate how great they are. If it is your neighbor, have your son or daughter help you bake cookies and walk them over this afternoon. And I want to encourage you, if you do not have that special support system, please take a minute to think through the people you know who could fit that role and start investing in those special souls. Young mommy friends are a necessity, but those who have walked through the fire are also extremely valuable. They are the ones who let you know that it gets better, that you’ll miss it, that it’s okay to take some alone time, that you are doing a great job, that you could do a better job, that your children are precious (and they mean it), and that no matter what, your job as a parent never ends.
Thank you Honey and Pops and Nanny and G! We love you so incredibly much!