Five Things Your Grandchild Needs from You
Grandparents and grandchildren have a special bond, a relationship unlike any other. I had heard all the clichés and quotes about the magic of being a grandparent, but I will admit, I was skeptical. I knew I would love my grandchild, but until he was in my arms, I had no clue I would fall head over heels, irrevocably in love with him. Fairy dust, kittens, and unicorns are no competition for the magic grandchildren bring to our lives.
I receive many positive things from my grandson: a new look at life through his eyes, the gift of getting to be childlike again, the incomparable feeling of a small child’s hug as they say, “I love you grandmom,” and the knowledge that life and my love will go on way after I’m gone. They bring so much to our lives, but what does a grandchild need in return from their grandparents?
1. Unconditional love
Every child deserves to have at least one person in the world who thinks they are wonderful, one person who believes in them and loves them totally and unconditionally. That person is often a grandparent. In my eyes, my grandson is a future Olympian, Rhodes Scholar, and Nobel Prize winner, all wrapped up in an adorable package. Doesn’t everyone need an irrational, gung-ho, all-out cheerleader in their corner, someone who views them through the rose-colored gaze of “grandparent goggles”?
“If your baby is ‘beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time,’ you’re the grandma.” –Teresa Bloomingdale
As with any relationship, the investment of time helps love grow. Grandparents are usually in the position of giving their grandchildren focused time. No devices getting in the way, just one-on-one time. Time is something that was often in short supply when we were parents with young kids. Jobs, house and yard work, laundry, cooking, and cleaning often kept me too busy. Now, I have the luxury of more free time. I also know the rest of the world can wait; playing hide and seek or reading a book with a toddler snuggled on my lap takes priority.
“Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day, and now the day was complete.”—Marcy DeMaree
They don’t want to hear our long-winded stories about “back in our day,” but we can tell interesting little stories about family history, what their parents were like as kids, and how the world once was. My grandmother, Callister’s great-great-grandmother, came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon during the land rush of 1889. His great-grandfather dropped out of school at the age of ten to pick cotton to provide for his family. These are nuggets of his history I’ll share when he’s older. My grandson is almost three, and he is just beginning to accept the reality that his mama was once a little girl. He still can’t quite believe she was grandmom’s little girl. To make the idea less abstract, I pull out old photo albums and show him pictures of when his mama was young. It’s a strange but fascinating concept for kids.
“Young people need something stable to hang on to — a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.”—Jay Kesler
I like to think that with age comes a bit of wisdom. Every generation has to make their own choices, and mistakes are an inevitable part of being human, but possibly grandchildren will come to a trusted grandparent to seek advice. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to grandparents than your parents. Even if we don’t have sage advice, we can provide an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and a warm hug when times are tough.
Grandparents should play the same role in the family as an elder statesman can in the government of a country. They have the experience and knowledge that comes from surviving a great many years of life’s battles and the wisdom, hopefully, to recognise how their grandchildren can benefit from this.”—Geoff Dench
In many situations, grandparents provide security and stability, a soft place for grandchildren to land when their parents are struggling. Almost three million grandparents in the United States are primary caregivers to their grandchildren, and Oklahoma ranks right up there at the top. Among other issues, the opioid epidemic has escalated, rendering many parents unable to care for their children. Thank goodness for the grandparents who step in and provide a home and a family for their grandchildren.
Grandparents make the world a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer.”—author unknown
“Being a grandparent is the cherry on the top of life’s sundae.” “Grandchildren are the reward of old age.” “Perfect love does not come until the first grandchild.” These are all the corny quotes which somehow seem wise and wonderful once you are a grandparent. It’s the love I felt for my children minus the responsibility and hard work. Our grandchildren need us, but the truth is we may need them even more!
The feeling of grandparents for their grandchildren can be expressed this way: “Our children are dear to us; but when we have grandchildren, they seem to be more dear than our children were.” —Henry Old Coyote