After spending 33 years trying to make sure I stay connected with my kids, my goal has morphed into something even more spectacular and, yes, challenging: skipping over Gen X and plunging head-first into real, significant, hands-on involvement with Gen Cute. That would be my two rather adorable granddaughters.
Why, you may ask in all fairness, do I find it necessary to stay firmly rooted in the grandparent loop? After all, I’ve raised two children and enjoyed all the accompanying pleasure/anxiety, fun/distress and sheer work that comes with that. Do I really want to go there again - now that I could maybe take a breather from pink tutus and Cookie Monster and Goodnight Moon?
And, as someone famous once said: With Great Privilege Comes Great Responsibility. I don’t know about you, but to my daughter and son-in-law that means I should be available to babysit. Not all the time, not when I’ve got something important scheduled, like an appointment to get a manicure with Hillary Clinton or tickets to a Beatles reunion concert, should John and George somehow come back from the dead. Other than that, I’d better be free.
So, while those seem to be downright reasonable rationales for actively avoiding grandma-land, I find myself reveling in this new world. Why is that?
Because where else in life do you find little people who adore and worship you and only know that you’re loving and nice and generous and fun, and don’t know how you hate lines and bad movies and heavy traffic, and you wake up cranky in the mornings. And even if they did know that, it really wouldn’t matter to them.
Because this is your chance to do everything the way you want to, not because your own mother did it this way or that way, not because your friend does it better and not because you’re trying to meet some invisible, obscure parenting goal that Barry Brazelton or Dr. Phil or your child development professor invented.
And mostly because so far, being a grandparent’s pretty cool. You become the person who gets to do the frosting-on-the-cake stuff: take the kids to the movies and the plays, read the fun books, watch the recitals and the games, and yes, add the frosting to the cake. And it’s all good.