Reflections on Grandparenthood


Our grandkids are visiting.  Here we are in the backyard for some play time and then on a walk around the block with the dogs.  Nico had to take a rest on the walk.  I guess those little 15-month-old legs get a little tired always running and climbing.

It occurred to me today that I never had a relationship with grandparents when I was growing up.  Well, there was Mom’s mom, Winnie Waugh, but by the time I came along as the 5th out of 7, she was pretty old and cantankerous.  What I mean is I never had the sort of loving relationship Ray and I have with these kids.  I know many people have wonderful memories of their Grandma or Grandpa.  They speak so lovingly of them.  I was always avoiding Winnie Waugh’s cane that was often raised in my direction.  She never hit me, but, clearly, we were not cuddling together watching a movie like Luna and I were this afternoon.

I can only imagine what a stabilizing force a positive relationship with grandparents could be. I can see how comfortable these children are in this house and how they already have certain expectations when they are here.  Luna expects to play with play doh at some point and also tinker toys.  She has a “house” out in the back yard that is an open space surrounded by plants that is all hers.  She and Nico both know that they will always have a bath when visiting Grandma and also it’s likely we’re going to take the dogs for that trek around the block.  Grandpa always reads bedtime stories to Luna while I get Nico settled in the other room.  More often than not, Luna and I are going to bake some sort of honey-sweetened dessert, such as cookies, a cake or a pie.  She has her own apron that she wears when we cook.  Nico toddles around in the kitchen when we are baking, mainly petting Cordelia and Frankie and pulling toys out of his special drawer.

I wish I had some better role modeling for steadfast grandparents.  My mom was a good grandmother to my kids in a more formal way.  She visited always at least once a week and she was calm and interested in them when she was there.  She did not take them for overnights.  She just wasn’t that kind of grandmother.  Ray’s parents were actually quite active grandparents.  They took our kids on overnight stays and the kids loved going there.  Ray often says they were much better grandparents than parents, and I’m certain that’s true from the stories I’ve heard.  Sarah and Liz have good memories of them; Rachael was only three when we moved to California so she has fewer.  I’m glad my kids have happy thoughts associated with their grandparents.

It is now time for me to head to bed since I suspect we’ll have an early morning tomorrow.  I already have the kids’ clothes ready for them when they wake up.  We’ll be rushing a bit since I am the Master of Ceremonies at the 10:30 mass, which means we’ll be leaving here by 9:15.

Here’s to grandparent/grandchild love. Who knew what a treat this side of life would be, particularly when it comes to enjoying these little ones.

We’ll talk tomorrow.

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