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Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: Grandparents Universe
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A short time later our second family 2-year-old grand daughter makes her appearance with a calm but sure appearance of “Hi Pa Pa.” Following a kiss she makes a quick reconnaissance of the rooms and ends up in the kitchen where she knows Grandma keeps the goodies.
I have not yet entirely figured out what makes being a Grandparent special, but it is a kick in the pants. Everything you’ve heard good about being a grandparent is true. A ton of fun. Historical grand parenting requires us to love and spoil these small lives. Encourage them in their pursuit of the moment. Take walks to find just the right stick to draw in the dirt. Swing them high enough to touch the clouds. Make cookies and sneak more than one before dinner.
We have been successful at this part of grand parenting so our daughter gave us a plague for Christmas: “Kids are spoiled because you can’t spank grandparents.”
While the joy and love with grandchildren is more intense, sweeter than with your own children, the pain and sorrow are deeper and sharper also. Small tears over a splinter in the finger bring tears to your own eyes. Learning to share toys reminds you of your own jealousy and selfish desires. Heartbreaks over hurtful friends at school require an hour of tearful sympathy. Our oldest grand daughter expresses the greatest hurt and yet future joy when she explains that she has a sister in heaven. We have two such ones that we will meet at the eternal reunion.
We love our children dearly, but being a grand parent is another universe altogether. Perhaps it is the ability to relax and just enjoy the childlike wonder of experiencing life for the first time. We do not have to worry too much about discipline, healthy foods or bedtimes. If we need more time to read a fourth one only before bedtime book, we can do it.
Perhaps it is having the wisdom and experience to concentrate on the important issues of life and the ability to lump the small stuff. Discipline and training are important, but most of the time the conflicts of parenting children do not require discipline, but simple training. Less yelling and more understanding come with having this second set of children.
Perhaps it is having learned to focus on the real need of your child and not just reacting to the crying, whining and disobedience. More often than not, children just need an understanding hug, someone to nap with or someone to give them undivided attention. Grandparents fortunately have the extra time for these special needs.
Perhaps the benefit of grand parenting lies mostly in the good-cop bad-cop trick. While we do discipline our grandchildren, often sternly and forcefully for running into the street, the hard struggle to train young lives for success lies with the parents. Grandparents have the cushier job of supporting the parents by being the ones who can soothe stormy emotions and talk quietly about life’s important attitudes and behaviors.
We live an emotional high for a month after a grandchild visit. We long for the next one.
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