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When You’re Lucky, Grandparents and Grandchildren Share a Special Bond

Something changes in that time between having kids and having grandkids, and a grandparent’s patience and joy can be boundless.

It was my dad’s birthday this past week, and not to out him publically, but there’s a Beatles song about how old he just turned.  And yes, my mom says she’ll still feed him. 

It’s pretty much impossible to shop for presents for my parents these days.  They are lucky enough to have everything they want and need, and while my dad could use a new car that isn’t quite within my budget.  So we figured that the best gift we could give him is time with the grandkids.

Isn’t it funny how for a grandparent, time with their grandchildren is precious and valued…and yet for a parent time alone, even 5 minutes in the shower, can become a commodity worth more than gold? 

[Which, by the way is at $1406 per ounce as I write this.  That’s up 150 percent in five years!  And up over $18 just today.  How did I miss that boat?]

I absolutely love spending time with my kids.  I miss the older one when she is at school.  But what I wouldn’t give for just a sliver of down time…maybe time to watch Oprah or read a book just once a month.  Or get that eyebrow wax I so desperately need.

Not so with my parents. 

And isn’t that awesome? 

We walked into their house on Sunday and they were ready for the onslaught of noise and disruption.  Toys had been brought up from the basement.  Library books had been procured.  Snacks were ready.

All of us, adults included, were extremely well fed and taken care of, and the joy that it gave my parents was just the best.

The presents we brought my dad didn’t matter.  Another sweater or book is always welcome, but what was the absolute highlight of the day was the look on his face when he opened the cards that my girls had made for him.  It was just pure joy.  In fact, that look was reflected on their faces as well as they sat on his lap while he opened everything.  I wouldn’t have been able to capture that feeling fully even if I had my camera.  Which I forgot.

However, the day wasn’t without its incidents.  The little one fell flat on her face from two steps up on our way out.  The older one spent a little bit too much time in my sister’s 1989 school dance dress (off the shoulder peach satin, white lace overlay, big butt bow, by the way. Hi Christine!) and had to be pried out with threats. 

My parents only live 45 minutes away and I can’t imagine being able to spend even enough time with them to make them and my girls happy enough. 

So -- thanks Mom and Dad.  Thanks for not letting me and my sister know when you were too tired or annoyed or overwhelmed with us on a daily basis.  And thanks for never, ever feeling that way with our kids, no matter what.  Thanks for enjoying every second with them.

Nancy Mozal February 24, 2011 at 02:39 PM
What a great article. Being a grandparent and having time with our grandson is priceless. You are so right, when we get older, we pretty much have everything we need. Having our children and grandson spend time with us is more important. Like you, the distance between us is 45 minutes so we take what we can get - squeezed in between theirs and our work and social schedules!
Anne Gonnella February 24, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Boy do I hear what you are saying about needing a little downtime once in awhile! I don't get nearly enough of that (as in, any). But I am so very lucky that my parents live a mere 5 minutes away and they are the ones that care for my young daughter during the week. Their bond is strong and growing every day and I couldn't be more grateful. And even with all that time together, my dad's face still lights up every time my girls says "papa!"
Jill Berry February 28, 2011 at 02:57 PM
I hear on the devotion of grandparents. My dad never changed a single diaper until my daughter was born. He was very hands om with her. Much more so than with me!

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