Serendipity | Rewards of children



Grandparents are life’s bonuses. Typically old enough to know many interesting things, they’ve lived long enough to acquire wisdom, good judgment and humor etiquette. They know what’s worth fussing about, and what to overlook. And they rarely feel the need to say that parental disclaimer; “I love you, but I don’t like you right now.” Grandparents aren’t perfect; sometimes they’re irritable because they don’t feel well, or they’ve misplaced their keys or glasses for the third time in one day, but generally, they’re great company.

It’s risky making general statements about an entire population of people. Certain words like always, never, everybody, etc. are tricky. The minute such words are used, someone has a comeback. Nearly every kid, notice that particular phrase allows some wiggle room, has proclaimed loudly and somewhat defiantly, “Everybody gets to have or do it.” Novice mistake because almost always, more language wiggle room, a parent or other adult will jump right on that “everybody” word and declare user error.

Likely not every grandma or papa is saint material, but overall they’re special people to be around. One huge disappointment, actually a deep hurt, is grandparents sometimes leave our lives before we’ve had time to fully appreciate them. Which is all the more reason to share quality time together before it’s too late. Ask them questions, listen carefully to their responses because if you don’t, you’ll regret it after they’re gone.

People told me countless charming details about being a grandma, and they’re true, even though initially I was skeptical about believing. One thing I’ve noticed, few grandparents admit to getting annoyed with their grandchildren. Having been taught honesty is the best policy, I’m rather forthcoming with such information. Children by their very nature don’t always make the best choices and neither do grandparents. But children are forgiving, and making amends is not difficult. Talking to kids is enjoyable and educational, and I’ve learned to listen not lecture, although sometimes I misspeak.

Recently, my husband and I spent a few days with our oldest and youngest grandchildren while their parents vacationed. Their company was delightful. Children are especially charming minus their parents. We went mall shopping, and their understanding of money was interesting to observe, and their decisions on spending it were well calculated. They knew ahead of time we weren’t paying. The math challenge caused our 6-year-old granddaughter to exclaim, “It’s been a long day.” Usually that’s my line. When her 14-year-old-brother and 75-year-old Papa didn’t return promptly to our agreed meeting place, she stated indignantly, “Those boys are late!”

We were also caregivers for the dog, who loved us, and the cat who merely tolerated the situation. We made it work. As one who thrives on questions and answers, I loved that our grandson asked us after school one afternoon, “What did you do today?” and thoughtfully listened to our responses.

Whether it’s heredity or hearsay, it’s interesting to note parent/children similarities. Our granddaughter cautiously warned us about the upcoming expiration date on the side of the milk carton, in familiar paternal fashion. Our grandson was up very early, remembered homework, trash after-school commitments, and more, without ever complaining about his cold. Impressive!

Grandparenting is a beautiful privilege and an enjoyable parenting payback. Color us grateful!

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