Grandparents are so thankful to YOU for giving them grandchildren!
It is a remarkable thing to watch my mum and dad become Grandparents, as much as it must be amazing for them to watch me as a new parent.
In the early sleep-deprived days of newborn twins, we decided to catch public transport on an outing to the beach. An elderly lady cooed at our surprisingly docile daughters and sympathetically acknowledged; "Oh itís hard. You know the only reason you have children is to get grandchildren one day."
While there is much philosophically disconcerting about this statement said in jest and at the time grandchildren felt like an extraordinarily distant and irrelevant goal, I understood her sentiment as I had been watching our girls' grandparents fiercely embrace their new role.
When I was growing up my grandparents lived in the country and the others were unwell and still quite a distance away. While I have fond memories of them and their visits, itís only now that I have children of my own watching my parents and in-laws being so involved in my daughters lives that I realise what I missed out on.
My husband's grandparents had all but one passed away before he was born so also missed out on much of this beautiful bond. We feel so incredibly lucky to watch our girls delight in the joy and gift of having four grandparents and even more fortunate to also have a healthy and active Great-Grandad. A recent unprompted conversation on their cardboard mobile phones went like this: "Great-Grandad! Got crackers? Cheese? Ok, bye!"
So why are Grandparents so great?
1. Grandparents are often more patient with children as they donít have the same pressures of running their daily life. Or perhaps it is that they know how fast the time goes and so they choose to sit and wonder at the magic of a child.
2. Grandma and Grandad's house has new toys, new things to look at, new smells and often lots of lovely new treats. Children have a captive audience and often a pet to play with too. My in-laws have a grand piano, a mini-golf course on their back lawn and an array of toys over 40 years old that you just can't find in the shops nowadays.
3. Grandparents are often empty nesters with a strong desire to shower your children with gifts. My mum and mother-in-law love to buy new clothes for the girls. This is perfect for me because trying to get out to the shops with two toddlers that donít dress the same can make for a challenging and expensive expedition.
4. Grandparents are excellent babysitters. If it wasnít enough for you to watch the love between them, the fact that they take them off your hands so that you can run some errands, grab a coffee or take a breather with your partner should definitely feel like a gift.
5. Grandparents are so thankful to YOU for giving them grandchildren! I didnít even think how there might be a payoff for me in this process, but I get thanked all the time by their grandparents for having beautiful children and allowing them to be a part of their lives.
6. From friends with older children, I can see the amazing adventures grandparents can take children on. Even now their unique skills, interests and capacity add a breadth of developmental and emotional fullness to our daughters, where perhaps we as parents, right in the middle of parenthood, may lack.
It takes a village to raise a child (and perhaps a little more to raise twins). Many families spread across the world have to build their village capacity, create their support network and discover neighbours who may become grandparents as natural ones are not present. This is truly being raised by a village and we seek to grow ours in addition to the gift of grandparents that we have so fortunately inherited.
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.