It’s a “Grand” Love!
“I‘m so in love. I never expected it to be like this. I’ve never felt like this before!” These were outtakes from a recent conversation with a friend. We weren’t talking about our husbands (sorry, guys), and neither of us is having an illicit love affair. We were talking about our grandchildren. We’re not the first to feel this way, and we won’t be the last. There is something about grandchildren that elicits strong feelings from even the most emotionally stoic people. I knew I would enjoy having grandchildren, but the intensity of the love I feel for them has been an unexpected gift.
Grandchildren fill a place in our hearts we never knew was empty. I loved being a mother and clearly remember the feeling of pure bliss when my children were placed in my arms. Yet after typing the phrase “pure bliss,” I am reminded that the feelings of joy were also accompanied by the stress of responsibility and worry. A grandparent gets all of the goodies without the stress. I don’t have the emotional baggage of deciding what school is best, whether we should co-sleep, wondering about behaviors or habits, deciding when to take the pacifier away, and a myriad of other parental concerns. Those aren’t my business. My role is to simply love those grandkids with all my heart. That’s an assignment I can easily (and literally) embrace.
When I recently moved from the only house my grandkids had ever known, I worried how they would react. They loved coming to “Grandmom’s house” and were sad when I told them we were moving. We’ve been in our new townhouse a little over a week, and they have already adapted to coming to our new place. It turns out that it wasn’t the house they were coming to see; it was the grandparents. They don’t care where we live; they only care that they are coming to visit the grandparents they love and where they are loved in return. It seems simple enough. It also doesn’t hurt that there is a pool outside our back door at the new place, but my ego wants to believe it’s all about me!
Some of my happiest moments with my grandchildren are the simple times. Nothing compares with having your grandchildren on your lap, hearing them tell you they love you, and getting wet, slobbery kisses on the cheek. I wish I could capture the feeling when my twenty-month-old granddaughter runs to me with her arms up, saying, “hug, hug,” before launching herself into my waiting arms. We all want to be loved, and the love we get from our grandkids is so pure and so true; it’s better than chocolate. And that’s saying a lot!
When I spend hours with my grandchildren, the troubles melt away. I become absorbed in their world, and it’s a happy place to be. My grandson invents stories where we fight the monsters in the pool with our fun noodles. I meow and bark with my animal-obsessed granddaughter. We play games, games that my grandson creates new rules for and somehow usually wins. My other daughter, the aunt to my grandkids, commented that I never say no to the grandkids. It’s true. I rarely do unless it’s a danger or moral issue. It’s one of the best aspects of grandparenting. I’m the yes man, and it’s great to be that!
I suspect we get more than we give to our grandchildren, but I also believe we positively enhance their lives. Because of divorce and remarriage, my grandkids have an abundance of grandparents who love them. They’re lucky to be surrounded by love. I believe if a child has that kind of family love, it can only strengthen their interactions in the world. Everyone needs a soft place to land in an often harsh world. Grandparents can be those soft pillows providing extra cushioning.
The grandparent-grandchild bond is unique and beautiful! It’s a love that goes beyond what I imagined and is one of the sweetest rewards for making it to this stage in life. Proverbs calls grandchildren “the crown of the aged,” but I think this old Irish blessing might be my favorite: Children are the rainbow of life. Grandchildren are the pot of gold. I have to agree. It’s a grand “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” kind of love!