Tips for Grandma Visits: Getting What You Wish For

Baby kissOne of my Grandma friends with whom I have shared Grandma Lessons is the mother of a son.  She wanted Grandma Lessons so she would be the one her son and daughter-in-law relied upon.  She wanted to be the hands on grandma with an intimate relationship with her grandchildren.  Eight years later, we discussed her success.  She has been successful, so much so, that she is the Grandma called upon for everything.  She got what she wished for!

We discussed how she never said no.  We discussed how she never commented.  We discussed how she was never judgmental.  We discussed how she was always positive and supportive.  We discussed how she complimented the parents and made them feel as though they were doing a great job.  We discussed how she was always helpful and is there when they need her.  She won the Grandma jackpot.  So much so, that when the parents need coverage for a week at spring break, she has agreed to be there for a whole week with the grandchildren.

However, we also discussed how we are eight years older.  We don’t know how grandparents who do daily coverage do it!  We do not want to believe we do not have the stamina of eight years ago, but the truth of the matter is, we can no longer run around with our grandchildren from 6 AM to 8 PM without a break.  Being a Grandma is longer and harder work than working!

I shared a conversation that I had had with another Grandma friend who youngest son is twenty eight years old.  This Grandma is worried that, by the time this son has children, she is going to be an old grandma.  Our definition of an old grandma is one who cannot do any of the things we can do but is more of an observer than participant.  The last thing a Boomer Grandma wants is to be considered old!  The last thing a Boomer Grandma wants is to be old!

Getting older is the subject of another post.  How we adapt and still be the active participant Grandma that can be relied upon is what this Grandma wants to address.

My Grandma friend and I discussed how to accept and say yes when the parents of our grandchildren suggest that the grandchildren have some scheduled activities during our visit, so we CAN be an observer some of the time.  This gets easier as the grandchildren get older as they are involved in more extracurricular activities.  It is as if their getting older suits our getting older!

My Grandma friend and I discussed how we suggest that we have some “alone time” with one grandchild at a time during our visit.  This does ease our burden by allowing us to take one grandchild at a time for a while.  One grandchild at a time is clearly easier than multiple grandchildren to entertain!

The issue then becomes for us the expectation of our growing grandchildren for constant entertainment when Grandma is around.  We have become so participatory, that they expect us to be spry and active for all of their waking hours.  And most of them no longer nap! Thank goodness for the I pad and I pad apps.  Even my toddler grandson is proficient on the I pad! I have taught all my grandchildren how to play Bingo on my favorite two apps, Bingo Bash and Bingo Run.  I have taught even the five year old to play backgammon with me on my backgammon app.  I learn their apps and watch them play the games.  We watch a video or movie on the I pad.  They share in an activity that I enjoy, and one that does not involve running around a ball field!  Some quiet time some of the time is now what I crave and the grandchildren are adapting with me.  I no longer try to get them away from the television all of the time.  Just most of the time.

My Grandma friend and I remembered when our oldest grandchildren were babies.  When they napped, we did the laundry, folded it and put it away, cleaned and straightened up, prepared dinner and set the table.  We did more at our children’s homes than we did at our homes!  The parents came home from work to a spotless home and all of their chores done.  It was a win-win.  Now when my youngest grandchild takes a nap, I lay next to him, doze, watch TV and play on the I pad.  The chores will just have to wait for the parents to do on the weekend.

Are we happy about this?  I think we both agreed that we would prefer to be the dynamos of almost a decade ago.  However, we are glad we are not the Grandma with a twenty eight year old son and have empathy as to what that may mean.  Will we give into that mentality?  Never.  We are Boomer Grandmas forever and may adapt to the times, but will remain “Forever Young,” (my favorite Rod Stewart song) forever with

Joy,

Mema

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