For the New Year 2023, How Do Grandparents Measure the Year

“Seasons of Love,” the song from the award winning Broadway play, “Rent,” starts out: “five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.  How do you measure, measure a year?”

Having just lost two friends in as many weeks, at this moment, being very philosophical, I think we grandparents measure a year by one that gives us another year of life, the good health to enjoy it, and the common sense to appreciate our life.  The ability to watch a grandchild reach another year and another stage is a precious gift. This grandma wishes that for all grandparents everywhere in 2023 and beyond.

In 2013, I wrote the initial blog post about years in the life of a grandchild. At that time, I did not have teenage grandchildren. How life changes for a grandparent as life changes for our grandchildren.

A year in the life of a baby grandchild is a year of great change.  To be able to be present often, either in person or by Face Time, to enjoy the many “firsts” and milestones is our measure of this year.  Some of us are “baby” people and some are not.  I personally got hooked on HGTV the first year of my oldest grandson’s life.  My greatest joy was rocking the sleeping baby in front of the TV.  Thank God the current theory is that we cannot spoil babies by holding them too much.  Some of my grandparent friends, though, think newborns and young babies are boring and want nothing to do with grandchildren until they can interact with the grandchild.  I think if you are the latter kind of grandparent you may consider communicating that to the parents so they don’t equate your lack of interest to lack of love.  How much that little one means is beyond words.  We feel overwhelmed by the love we give and receive unconditionally.

I love learning the temperament and personality of the baby grandchild.  Each is so different.  I personally think we can see these traits from birth.  The baby who can sleep anywhere to the baby who needs silence to sleep.  The baby who will go to anyone (even in the separation stage of 6-9 months when some babies will only go to primary caretaker) to the baby who only smiles to the special known caregiver(s).  We can help the parents of our grandchildren  know their babies better as we have the experience to identify a resilient child from a fragile child and know what they need from their parents.

A year in the life of a toddler grandchild is a year of laughs and laughter.  Toddlers are hilarious as they learn about the world around them.  I love seeing the world anew through the life of a toddler grandchild.  Each toddler grandchild makes me appreciate the beauty of nature, the beauty of exploration and the beauty of living life all over again.

A year in the life of a preschooler grandchild is a year of going from babydom to doing things for themselves.  The “mine” becomes, “I can do it.” Watching this growth and development and helping grandchildren learn about life and living is joyful.  Sometimes, grandparents just start wanting to spend time at this point in a grandchild’s life.  I think grandparents who find their grandchildren interesting beginning at this stage should explain that and why to the parents.  I am not a “blood,” “vomit,” or “diarrhea” grandma and you can bet I let the parents of my grandchildren that they cannot count on me for any of those!

My greatest joy about preschoolers is that grandparent’s presence as an important person in their lives is cemented.  Grandma’s special name and being is secured through mutual unconditional pure love and joy.  I love the preschooler grandchild running into my arms the moment they see me.  I love that when they have me, they want nothing to do with their parents.

A year in the life of a school age grandchild is a year of activity and learning.  This stage is where, over time, Grandma transitions from participant to observer.  It is really fine–it gets harder as we get older.  It takes great effort to learn the games, the apps, the songs, the activities, the schooling of today’s children.  More of the homework and projects are beyond my capabilities, and I was an elementary and middle school teacher (just do not ask me how long ago). It takes even more time to be an integral part of a grandchild’s life.  Now, if you are not at an event you could have attended, you have to answer to the grandchild, as well as the parent of the grandchild!

This Grandma now has three teenage grandchildren, two in high school and one in college. The love is strong but a teen’s growth and development means priorities elsewhere. Chauffeuring is what I do as a grandparent of teens who not yet drive and, yes, they do share with their grandparents what they may not share with their parents. It is a fine line keeping them safe and keeping their secrets. I am not the grandparent who enjoys teaching them to drive or letting them drive me typically. Their joy is my stress.  However, of course, I am finding that my grandchildren are outstanding drivers. Thank goodness for texting, FaceTime, and Instagram so I can connect. TicTok is still beyond me. I have found that they believe the telephone is an ancient means of communication. Venmo is their friend and they will gladly install the app on your electronics and show you how to use it.

I have seen the love of twenty somethings with their Grandparents.  Just like our own teens came back into the fold, these grandchildren call, visit, speak often and fondly of their Grandparents. I know some to even care for their grandparents as they age.  See blog post, “Young Adult Grandchildren Moving In With Grandparents: What A Joy!” I keep reminding the older teenage grandchildren of the newspaper article! Mutual unconditional love and commitment to one another is what this Grandma sees, that the love between generations just gets stronger.

I have been fortunate to be able share every grandchild’s birthday or birthday party to date, in person or by FaceTime .  Sometimes it was difficult to get there, but this was important to this Grandma.  If it is not possible for you, you should explain why not and make a special celebration birthday time and date with your grandchild for them to anticipate.  We learn that we can celebrate any holiday or birthday at any time, even several times a year. We never can have enough birthday and holiday celebrations. See posts, “Long Distance Grandparents Combining Holidays for Double Joy: Thanksgiving and Christmas or Chanukah.” and “Long Distance Grandma Thinks Creatively When Celebrating the Holidays with the Top Four Tips for Making Holidays Joyful.”

Yes, a birthday is a major life passage event to a child.  We know the significance of life passage events in our lives, but as we are older, these that we Grandparents define as life passage events are fewer to anticipate and enjoy.    A year is a long time for a child, but flies by for us. Creating and sharing time, traditions, and rituals build memories that will keep us forever in the hearts of our grandchildren. I continue to tell each of them I love them to infinity and beyond as often as I can.

What a joy to see life through the year of a child.  There are so many sad events in life.  In 2023, let us celebrate the happy ones with



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