Grandparents: The Cheerleaders with Rose-Colored Glasses
I almost always greet my grandchildren by excitedly exclaiming, “There they are, the best grandchildren in the entire world,” as I hold my arms open wide for a welcome hug. Callister is five, which is old enough to start questioning that statement. Several times he has responded with, “That’s just what all grandparents tell their grandchildren.” Despite that little bit of cynicism, there’s still a huge grin on his face when I say it.
Our role as grandparents is to be the biggest cheerleader for our grandkids. We get to be the ones who look at them through our rose-colored grandparent glasses and think they’re perfect. My daughter recently sent me a text exchange we had three years ago when Callister was two years old. He was fascinated with an Usborne book about the human body and wanted me to read it again and again.
Me: I think he’s going to be a doctor. He is fascinated with this book about the body.
His mother: I think he is going to be in prison. He ripped some of my hair out, and he’s trying to eat it. (laugh emoji)
My daughter commented that although it’s probably true that nobody loves you like your mama, it’s also true that nobody believes in you like your grandmother. When Callister was taking swim lessons as a toddler, I was confident the Olympics were in his future. When he was fascinated with the planetarium, I was sure he had what it took to be an astronaut. Sylvia is two years old and walks around with her stethoscope saying, “I’m a doctor,” and bandaging up everything from her dolls to trucks. I may need to start prepping her for her MCATs because I believe she can become anything she wants!
If I were their parent, I would need to add some balance or run the risk of developing narcissistic people, which is the last thing this world needs. However, as their grandmother, I have the pleasure of being completely free with my indulgent, myopic view of my grandchildren. Don’t we all need one person who thinks we are the best? Don’t we all need one place where we’re loved no matter what?
My rambling mind takes me back to the popularity of the old series Cheers. Although it’s probably strange to talk about a bar in a blog about grandparents and grandkids, part of the show’s appeal was the idea of a place where everyone knew your name and welcomed you. I can see the similarities between Cheers and (as my grandkids refer to it) “Grandmom’s house.”
Be glad there’s one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to go where people know
People are all the same
You want to go where everyone knows your name
Everyone knowing your name is a way of saying everyone recognizes who you are, accepts you as you are, and cares about your well-being. For some kids, grandparents are the ones who provide that feeling of being seen and loved unconditionally. My grandkids are lucky to have a safe home and two wonderful, loving parents. Having grandparents who are their biggest cheerleaders is a bonus.
I never was a cheerleader in high school, but here I am at 64 years old, wearing my rose-colored grandmother’s glasses and waving pompoms to cheer my grandchildren on through life. No matter what my grandson says, I will always tell them they are the best grandchildren in the world! Who doesn’t want to be loved like that?