I often wonder about my role as a grandparent. As a parent I pretty much forged my own path. I may not have always known what I was doing, but the decisions were basically mine. As a grandparent I am not always so sure. There are, after all, two other people setting the rules. Two other people who have their own expectations as to what kind of role they want you to play in the lives of their children.
My own mother was pretty much a hands off kind of grandmother. She told me from the get go that she was never babysitting. She wouldn't pick her grandchildren up because she said it hurt her arthritis. She didn't want them sitting on her lap and messing up her clothes. As I look back on it now, I realize that she made the rules. My father adored my daughters, but he was very ill and so his role was limited.
I absolutely love my grandchildren. I could eat them up with a spoon. I don't care how much pain I am in. I love to pick them up, hold them in my lap, read them stories until my eyes fall out, and get down on the floor to crawl into their tent, even if I am not sure I can get back up.
I am however, conscious of the fact that I don't want to overstep my place. I have never discussed this with my daughter. I don't live nearby and so I don't see the children more than two or three times a year (not nearly enough for me), but as I do plan to move near them next year I want to be comfortable with my expectations as well as theirs. I want all of us, especially the children, to feel good about our relationship.
So my question today is are you a grandparent? If so how do you handle this. Is it just natural for you or have you discussed it? Are you a parent with young children? What are your expectations for your own parents? I would love to have your input.
So grab a cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and let's chat.