Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grandparents and Childhood

This morning I read a fellow blogger's blog on being a grandparent. In all honestly, it made me cry. She speaks about how she does things differently as a grandparent than she did as a parent because of the things she has learned in her life. To quote her on one point she makes, "I don't care how hard you try, you'll never have as much time, be as relaxed, or have the patience of a grandparent. We've been where you are now. We don't have the demands on our lives, nor the expenses, nor the stress of being a young parent. Sadly, we are to the point of needing to feel important but are happily available to make your life a bit easier, while garnering all the snuggling time we can with someone that thinks we are the next best thing to a pacifier." And to quote her one more time she advises, "don't read so much into our words, actions, and looks. You really are doing a great job, just ask my friends. They hear all the time what awesome grandchildren we have. And to be that, they have to have great parents." Sometimes we need to hear this.

Parenting is difficult. Children do not come with an instruction manuals and there are so many books out there that you are either encouraged or chastized for reading. You then have your parents and grandparents telling you things that they did when we or our parents were growing up that makes you wonder how some of us survived. However, this, like everything, is a stage. We make it through the best way we can led by our gut and our motherly instincts. We will all make mistakes and most of us will raise our children differently. I know I did. I did a lot of things differently with my second than I did my first. The second time around I was more relaxed and not as afraid of the mistakes I would make. And I have taken a little wisdom from everyone in doing this, books, my moms, my grandmothers, my aunts, my sisters, my church family, and my friends. However, deep down I know the most important thing for my girls is that they feel loved.

I had three grandmothers growing up: Grandma Berdine, Grandma Anderson, and Maw. I have very special memories of my Grandma Berdine when I was little. I remember eating raw potatoes as she would peel them; I remember the smell of the soap that she would bath my brother and me with me; I remember how hard she scratched my head to wash my hair; I remember watching Dallas with her on her bed; and I remember how her house always felt like a happy place to be. Grandma Berdine lives in PA and the summer before I entered the third grade we moved to Alabama to live with my dad and step-mom. I have only seen my grandmother a handful of times after that.

My Grandma Anderson and I have never been incredibly close even though she lives 20-25 minutes away from me. I do have memories of the summers I spent at her house while my dad and step-mom worked, of her driving us to PA for visitation; of the cookies she bakes at Christmas time; and how you always had to wear shoes in the dining room because that is where she sewed.

Maw and I were not incredibly close either but she was always the grandma to have fun with. I remember her house was so interesting and you could find such neat stuff to play with. I remember that she had a swing on her front porch and she didn't care if you swung so high to put feetprints on the ceiling of the porch. I remember her teaching my brother to ride a bike and she allowed him to ride right over her flowers. I remember her giving us money to walk across the street to the store to buy candy. Anything went with her.

Now that I have my girls I look back on all of those relationships and reflect on what I want my girls to have. I want my girls to have happy memories of all of their grandparents. I want them to be close to all of them and always feel loved and spoiled. I want my girls to feel like they can go to anyone of their grandparents if for any reason they feel they can not come to us. I would love for their grandparents to be more involved in my girls lives than my grandparents were in my life. I have been fussed at by people who think I try too hard to make sure than my girls have good memories. I am not making them a fake childhood, I am just fostering a happy one.


The Hutchinson's! said...

Jess I feel the same way...Though I just wish I had parents who wanted to be more involved in my kids lives...

Nancy said...

Okay, so I'm crying now :)