Monday, June 14, 2010

Grandparents: I didn't get it, so I didn't get it, but now I got it so I get it

when i was growing up, none of my Grandparents lived near by. we took vacations to visit them a few times a year. i always looked forward to packing my bags to go see Grandma and Popop in San Antonio or Grandma and Grandpa in Minnesota. i love my Grandparents, and my Grandparents love me.

when my Mom became Grandma, i knew the love my children felt for her. i understood the excitement of going to visit Grandma. i saw my Grandma's love for me the same way my mom (and my mother in law) love my children.

but...the rule-breaking? the junk food? the letting-the-kid-run-the-show? the late night movie marathons? the presents for no reason?

i didn't get it. honestly, as my child's mom, the one who worked so hard to enforce rules and build structure in our day, it kinda irritated me when Grandma swooped in and threw it all to the wind.  

my Grandparents lived too far away to "spoil" me with gifts and mayhem. the little time i did get to spend with them was pure quality time, bonding and getting to know eachother. we had a lot of fun and i love the memories that i have with them, but it was different. i didn't get what my kids get.  

recently, i was having a conversation with a friend who recalled spending every summer with her Grandparents from the time she started school. her Grandparents lived walking distance from her home, so she would walk to their house every morning of every summer. sometimes she would stay the night and other nights, depending on what Grandma was serving for dinner, she said, she would walk back home. she remembers her Grandma serving banana splits with chocolate ice cream for breakfast! she remembers every afternoon when her Grandpa wanted to take a nap he would let her watch any TV show that she wanted! she remembers on the way to the beauty parlor, her Grandma would take her to the drug store next door to pick out a new toy! there was always ice cream in the freezer and Grandma let her lick the cake batter straight from the bowl.  

as i listened to my friend go on and on about how her Grandparents "spoiled" her on a regular basis, i thought about my kids' relationship with their Grandparents. they get that. they get the unleashed love -the kind that doesn't have any responsibility- from their Grandparents. isn't that part of the blessing of being a Grandparent? my kids get it. i didn't. and that's why i didn't get it. but now...

i get it.  

and i'm so thankful. my children are blessed with already such wonderful memories with their Grandparents. and while they might take a day or two to "re-train them after spending time with Granny or Grandma or Nini or Papaw, it's okay because i get it.