Grandparents. By the time I had my first baby, this term was not new to my mom and dad. My sister had three beautiful children who paved the way for Linus to have the ultimate grandparent experience.
I knew to expect that I would fall in love with my baby pretty much as soon as I held him. I even knew to expect that one of my favorite memories would be seeing my husband hold our son for the first time. What I didn’t expect was how I would feel about my parents’ relationship with my baby. I have always appreciated what my mom and dad have done for me growing up. They made many sacrifices to give my brother, sister and I pretty great lives. Seeing them in the role of grandparents puts them on an even higher pedestal to me.
So what makes grandparents grand?
They Stick to Instructions from the Parent
Yep. We all know that babies used to sleep on their stomach. But, we all also know that the pediatrician now recommends against that; and a characteristic of a solid grandparent is that they stick to instructions left by the child’s parent. Mom says no screen time. Grandpa turns on the radio.
…Except When They Don’t Stick to Instructions from the Parent
And it’s not always the end of the world. Somehow my son is always up later at Nonnie and PawPaw’s house (typically beyond his bedtime) and sleeps until 9 in the morning. My parents apparently double as baby whisperers. Linus has never slept until 9am for my husband and I.
They Understand that Modern Day Parenting isn’t Easy
I grew up seeing one of my grandmas a few times a week. We lived a few minutes away from her. My mom didn’t have a job; though, being a stay at home mom is hands down way harder than the job I get paid to do. My folks usually only see Linus 2-3 times a month. It sucks. But they understand that it’s hard. They understand that my career is important to me. They get that my husband and I sometimes want to hang out with our friends on the weekends. They also get that sometimes, after a long week, it’s nice to not have anything planned on a weekend so that we can relax and recharge as a nuclear family. Instead, they appreciate the time they do get to spend with their grandson.
Yeah, we have Google
We have Google, which is sometimes great. But, other times googling symptoms a kid is having is waaaay worse than WebMD for yourself. Instead, who better to ask about symptoms than the people who somehow kept kids alive without the internet?
A common theme I read about prior to becoming a mom was that moms are always behind the camera and never in the actual photos. I think my parents may have fallen into that group. I don’t have many photos of my parents and myself from when I was younger, so I can’t be sure. [RIP baby photos that stayed under my bed during Katrina.] I have found that my parents do a good job of snapping photos of not only their grandson by himself and not just their grandson with them … but also me with my son, my husband with our son and all of us together. Catching candid moments when we are spending quality time with them means so much to me. And I know it means a lot to them, too-they’re very proud of the how my brother, sister and I all turned out.
Bonus: Help your parents with learning how to store and manage digital photos.
Speaking of Documenting … Social Media
I appreciate that my parents (really my mom; dad isn’t on FB) respect my requests on social media:
- Ask me before sharing a picture of my son on the internet with a bunch of random people I don’t know.
- Tag me in the photo.
- My memories are my memories. Don’t share/steal all of my photos that I post to my own page.
Respect the Firsts
I dropped Linus off a few weeks ago at my mom and dad’s house. My mom jokingly said she was going to take Linus to get a haircut while I was gone. I immediately shot back – please don’t do that without me. Of course, I knew she would never do that, there was no need for me to say that because she knows that I take all of the ‘firsts’ to heart. First Santa visit, First Christmas, first tooth, first steps … you get the picture. A great grandparent understands that they have experienced these things with their own kids and part of being a grandparent is seeing their kids experience these things with their own offspring.
Grandkids are Only Part of their Happiness
My hobbies, friends and career help make up my happiness in life, along with my husband and son. No one person or thing defines my happiness in life. My parents are the same way with all of their grandkids. My mom and dad love hanging out with their grandkids, but they also maintain other hobbies. That is so incredibly important in maintaining a sharp mind and healthy spirit.
I really won the lottery when it comes to parents. They’re hip, and I love being able to make memories with them and my family.