My grandparents lived far away when I was growing up and unfortunately the cycle repeated itself for my children. Don’t get me wrong, whenever we visited or were visited by family there was special time with the grandchildren. However, it seemed like neither myself nor my children ever got to spend enough time with our grandparents.
There was a time after my youngest was born when I would have given anything for more support. My mother was already very sick and living in a nursing home, and Jeff’s parents live over 1,000 miles away. So I often felt overwhelmed. In hindsight, I think I should have formed a babysitting coop with other women with children.
This is probably part of the reason why being a part of my grand-children’s lives is so important to me. I want to spend time with them for many reasons. I want to give my daughter a break at times, and I also seem to be more patient than I was when I was younger.
During my children’s upbringing, it seemed like there was never enough time to keep the house clean, spend time with my husband, and I had no idea what time for me even felt like. I was often a working mom who had to juggle work, home, children and marriage. As a grandparent, I try to give my daughter some of that time I was missing. I also try to give my granddaughters special time. I love playing games with them, reading to them, going to the park, or doing just about anything with them. I am a much better grandmother than mother.
For some reason some of the things that drove me crazy when my children were young, I truly appreciate now. When mine were little, I really struggled to let them “help” in the kitchen until they were older and at least slightly competent. Now I love having the girls “help.” Instead of worrying about the mess or extra time it takes, I love watching them feel good about helping and learning.
When we are all spending time with each other, I will often spend special time with my granddaughters. For example one Thanksgiving, my daughter cooked the whole meal. I helped with some of the cleaning, but after dinner my son’s girlfriend and my husband helped with the dishes. I spent the time playing games with my granddaughters including Candy-land, Hi Ho Cheerios, and Lucky Ducky.
Lucky Ducky is a battery-operated duck pond that has twelve ducks with one of four colors on the bottom. The object of the game is to be the first one to get all of your colors. Trust me when I say that you’d have to be the grandmother to play this game more than once. My point is that one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself, your children and your grandchildren is the gift of time.