I was fortunate enough to grow up with both sets of my grandparents alive, in fact today all four are still here. As a kid, I remember there being nothing more exciting than your grandparents arriving at your house or you going to visit them. My granny would always bring a giant sack of toys for each of us and when she had sky tv and we didn’t, she would record programmes from the Disney channel onto videos for us to watch. I enjoyed sharing my stories with them. Talking to all four of them about my friends, my extra curricular activities and things I had learnt in school. We never lived close to either set of grandparents so they really were a novelty.
Now in my 30s the relationship they cultivated with me as a child is still there. Both sets of grandparents only live about 15 minutes apart from each other, which makes visiting them easier. I try to spilt my time equally between them all. We text regularly and I send them little updates about my own children while they send little gifts back. I love going to their house as they still don’t expect me to help with chores and enjoy serving me a bowl of soup or sitting down for a chat.
Grandparents really are special and magical. I see this with my own kids. The way their faces light up when we FaceTime my parents. How Finlay is almost tripping over his words to tell them about a new toy or about something he has learnt. How the twins try so hard to pronounce their names (my poor mum is currently called Papa!) and will sit longer on their knees for a cuddle than anyone else’s. As an adult looking on I see that it’s about more than just a giant sack of toys. It’s about relationship. And as I reflect back on my own experience, as fun and exciting as the giant sack was it always meant more to me when they were interested in whatever nonsense I was telling them about.
But what is it like to finally wear the badge of Grandparent? To watch your own child have a child and to see how they bring them up? Well I have asked my own parents a few questions about “grandparenting”. You will find their responses below.
1. Why is being a grandparent special to you?
Grandma: Seeing your own child have & bring up children is so wonderful to witness and watching the next generation of your family grow up is such a blessing.
Papa: Being called Papa is very cool as is being involved with the next generation and hence the continuation of your family line.
2. What’s the best thing you’ve experienced so far in your role as a Grandparent?
G: Hearing your little darlings call you Granma as they run to you & the countless hugs & kisses.
P: Hugs and kisses and time spent with these new family members who are a part of yourself. Also watching them and seeing the similarities with my own kids when they were little.
3. What would you allow your grandchildren to do but wouldn’t let me do?
G: Eat lots of rubbish, stay up late, be tempted to pick them up if they are crying if been sent to bed!!
P: Treats and sweets between meals, not bothering about E numbers as you don’t need to pick up the pieces later! Sending them back home hyper and heading off to my own house and bed for a good night sleep!
4. In what ways does being a grandparent differ from being a parent?
G: You get all the good/fun stuff and can then go home to your own bed and sleep ALL night!! You don’t have the huge responsibility to shape them, just lavish them with hugs, kisses and love.
P: You can get up to some serious childish mischief with the kids and have a real fun time without taking full responsibility. This means you can then hand them back and leave mum and dad to explain why what they were doing with papa was a “one off”!
5. What do you hope for with regards to your future relationship with my children?
G: That I will have created such a good relationship with them early on that allows me to be in their lives for a long time, & that they will always want to visit me and spend time with me even when they are busy so that I will hopefully see the next generation born!! Xx
P: To remain very close to them as they grow up, so that once they are older and have their own independence they will hopefully still choose to visit a grumpy old man who still has the odd nugget of wisdom to pass on.