Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grandparents' Day honors important job

Happy Grandparents' Day! And a special shout-out to grandparents who are raising, or helping to raise, their grandchildren.  May you be blessed with the extra energy and patience you need to perform your difficult, but very important, task.

Anyone who has had one or more good grandparents has a priceless gift. My husband passed on part of his legacy when he showed our kids the candy drawer in his grandma’s kitchen. 

Our grandparents showered us with candy, stories, lullabies, and hugs—and so did our kids’ grandparents. Our youngest cried halfway across the state after leaving my mother once. Finally I said, “We’ve come a long way. Do you still want to go back?” “Yes, let’s go!” she replied, replacing her tears with a smile for a brief moment before she realized we were still driving toward Nampa.

Our kids’ grandparents lived far away. When we were together, three of our kids’ grandpas took them fishing and four grandmas cooked for them.  The rest of the year, they used letters, packages, phone calls and birthday cards filled with money to show their love.

Nowadays, many grandparents send texts, tweets and Facebook messages.

For the grandparents, this all takes a mental toll. Case in point: recently, my husband asked at breakfast, “Are you serving warmed-over waffles?”

I replied, “Yes, they were home-made yesterday and toasted today, but remember, every day thousands of people eat Legos.” 

Fortunately our ten grandchildren between the ages of ten and one have eaten more Eggos than Legos, but they’ve done everything else with Legos that you can think of, and a few you can’t imagine.

We entered grandparenthood in a big way—our oldest grandchild was born around 3 a.m. on our 25th Anniversary. The first grandchild on both sides, he had no fewer than eight grandmothers, great-grandmothers and step-grandmothers, and four various grandfathers. To say he was showered with gifts is putting it mildly.

I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle. I recommend my secret weapon to any grandparent in the same dilemma: books.  Babies like to be held and read to. Reading creates a bond that lasts. 

Nine of our grandchildren said, “Bama, Ama” or some other variation of “Grandma” before they said anything remotely close to “Grandpa.”  One grandson called us both “Grandma” until he was four years old. And our home is “Grandma’s house” rather than “Grandpa’s house.”

My husband is a good grandpa and this bothers him just a bit.   

I chalk it up to thousands of “this little piggy’s,” lullabies, walks, sippy cups filled with juice, pushes on the swing, diaper changes, Disney Sorry games where I have to play the part of Captain Hook rather than Buzz Lightyear or Cinderella—and a ton and half of cookies per grandchild per year. 

It’s a big job being a rock star to these little folks, but someone’s got to do it.

However, our 21-month-old grandson said “Bumpa” first and has been saying it ever since. It’s not meant for me, because he walks in the room, looks me in the eye and says, “’Ere’s Bumpa?”

Some kids just can’t be bribed.

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