By Kim Morris.
I am a grandmother blessed with 3 adult daughters and 3 absolutely awesome grandchildren ages: 14, 5 and 2. My husband and I both enjoy our role immensely as grandparents. Below are a 7 reasons why I LOVE being a grandmother:
1. Our visit is fun while it lasts, and then they go home!
This is not the best reason, but let’s start here. After our wonderful visit, the grandchildren go home and I can have peace and quiet! Yes, you heard me correctly. Our visits can be quite exhausting! After we’ve completed puzzles, read books, played with dolls and trains, eaten tons of snacks, cleaned up messes and spills, and argued about a missing homework assignment, I find myself exhausted and slumped in my chair. Alas, the time for them to go home has certainly arrived. Hugs and kisses! See you later! Adios! And close that door please! Now I can catch my breath and anticipate their next visit. Having addressed the “elephant in the room,” I’ll now venture into the altruistic reasons why grand-parenting is so refreshing!
2. The hugs and kisses are unending
So what do we love doing together? First, it’s all those kisses and hugs, sitting close and nestling that bring out my inner-grandmother nurturing behavior. My adult children complain that I didn’t hug and kiss them like this, but they should remember when they were 11 and they pulled away from me when I tried to hug them. Or when I went up to school “in that hat, mom?” And how they stayed 10 paces behind me and treated me as if I were a weird neighbor who lived down the street. So I came to respect their boundaries, gave them their space and, uh…the hugs just stayed away. It will happen like this to my grandchildren in due time, so let me just have one more kiss today on those rosy cheeks!
3. Taking them to fun places is priceless
I truly love taking my grandchildren to all the fun places I used to take my own kids until they complained, “do we have to go to the museum again?” Our grandchildren just love being with us and they are always willing and ready to go to the park, swimming pool, museum, zoo and even the grocery store. Because we travel quite a bit, we often invite them to come along. So I get to share these wonderful adventures with them, but on my time. Yep, only when I’m ready, rested and need additional activity in my life.
4. Our visits are quality time without all the stress
These activities are fun because now I have more time and resources to do them at a leisured pace. When I was younger and took my kids to the museum, it was often time-pressured and financially stressful because I was working and only had 2 precious days off each week. Quality time competed with household chores, laundry, grocery-shopping, and cooking for the week. I had to master family outings squeezed between mopping the floor and getting clothes out of the cleaners. And the price of these activities was usually expensive, seriously challenging my savings account. Not stressed anymore! I do all my errands during the week when the world is busy (I’m now retired), and I am ready for the grands by Saturday and Sunday. Indeed, those extra dollars saved years ago can be doled out to these babies.
5. I pass my values down through my family
One important aspect of grand-parenting is being able to instill my important values into these young minds. Not that their parents aren’t doing the same. For example, I go “all the way in” when talking to my 14 year-old grandson about the need to respect others, how not to cheat on exams (of course he doesn’t but I talk about it anyway), or we discuss bullying, how to treat girls and a host of other spiritual, ethical and emotional issues. Above all, I teach my grandchildren the need to become well-educated to succeed in life. We always try to provide resources and exposure to cultural and educational activities that will enable them to realize they are NOT the center of the universe, but a part of the universe. And that they have important roles to play in civic and community activities. Hopefully they can learn by example that we didn’t get where we are by being lazy, unmotivated and pursuing short-cuts.
6. I nurture my bond with my own children
And I can’t forget to mention what my grandchildren do for me. Having them also reinforces the bond that I have with my own daughters. The role that I play as grandmother often happens with all three of my children present and us participating as a tight family unit playing games, debating social issues and eating home-cooked meals. I am convinced that our grandchildren serve as the glue connecting us across generations and enhancing the future of our family.
7. My legacy continues through my grandchildren
And then finally, there’s that precious legacy to pass on to the next generation. Our family’s history, struggles, successes and failures are to be examined and improved upon. Each generation learns from the previous ones how we fit into the world around us, how we make and repair relationships, how we strive to leave the world better than we found it, and how to bounce back from adversity. Because I am older and able to be realistic about our passing on, I am able to talk to my grandchildren about the fact that I won’t be here forever. And to teach them the painful lesson that it’s okay for me not to be here forever. Losing my own grandmother many years ago prepared me to cope with losing my own parents.
About a year ago, I was chatting with my 14 year-old grandson about my own mother, and from out of nowhere I started crying. Oh how embarrassing it must have been for him, but the moment passed quickly and I apologized for my outburst. He did not hesitate, but replied “it’s cool.” So there! We both recovered and if there’s a lesson for him, it’s this: he witnessed the love for my mother that brought sadness, but he also learned that I’m completely okay with it. And isn’t this what we want for our grandchildren?
Hopefully years and years from now, they will remember that Grandma Kim found no greater love than being a mother and a grandmother!! I will forever cherish the joy they have brought me and will continue to bring all the days of my life.
By: Kim Morris, grandmother of 3.
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