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The Tapestry With Dr. Deb Herodes

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/29/24 | 2/29/24


Over the River and Through the Woods

Why Grandchildren Revitalize Us

Your children are no doubt the most important thing you leave to the world.  You spend night and day, day and night raising them to be good people, protecting them from harm and nourishing their souls and bodies to eventually send them out into the world.  The sadness of an empty nest leaves many devastated, many relieved, but if you are lucky enough, the empty nest will soon start filling up again with baby birds, who will beg to fly away from the protection of the nest to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. 

The excitement of new little family members is all encompassing.  You begin to fill your house with diapers, toys, a crib, a playpen, bottles, baby Tylenol, extra clothes and of course, a red wagon. While the wonder of birth still astounds us, it is especially comforting for the mother and father of the female child, who is giving birth, to have this exciting day be over.  So many fears abound, as one’s daughter is wheeled into the delivery room; so much can go wrong, and truth be told, many “hoped for” happy occasions can be laced with much sadness.  One only needs took at the statistics of live birth and complicated births that result in life-long problems for mother and/or child, and maternal deaths, while in the delivery room, to realize how dangerous the miracle of birth really can be.  On a whole, America must do better!

A healthy birth brings all relatives to the glass of the nursery, or in today’s world, up close and personal, into the room where the mother and child are residing together.  Everyone takes a turn holding the new baby, commenting on how much he/she looks like so and so, and then leave this scene with all kinds of hopes and dreams for this new life. Despite one’s rank or age in the family, this new little bundle has put a spring in one’s step and hope in the heart of his/her grandparents.

Caring for grandchildren, which has become a huge deal in this world, where most moms and/or dads, cannot afford to give up one of their jobs to stay home with their blessed baby, and so, grandparenting can become and often does become an everyday affair.  A quick look in the grocery store, at a small child sitting proudly, holding grandma’s purse in the ride along section of the cart, makes you soon realize that today’s young ones are mutually raised by two different sets of expectations from two different generations.  This can be maddening, as the “younger generation” certainly has no idea (according to their parents,) how to raise a child yet professes that their children are their children and will be raised in their way.  Once this is established, life can become easier, as grandparental caretaking can be about fun, not rules, and maybe your grandchildren will want to come to your house daily because there is nothing but joy to be found.

Wrapping your heart around your grandkids is so easy, but one must not lose sight of the fact that these angels are borrowed for awhile and not your own children.  Often watching the things that parents allow makes you bite your tongue, due to the danger involved, but bite you do, because times have changed and maybe you just worry too much.  You may recognize the mistakes you made with your own children and try to correct these same types of behaviors in your grandchildren, only to be scolded by your adult children, so it’s best to make your suggestions but make no demands.

The fear of high fevers and persistent illness worries you, probably even more than it did when your own child was ill, because you oversaw your own child’s care, and now, can only advise from afar. The pull and tug of many grandchildren may leave you with guilt because you want all of them to feel special in your company.  Surprisingly, they all do, because you are grandma or grandpa, and frankly life is easier with you.  You have time to fill their lives with all the things they love, and you have the time to clean the house and do the dishes when they are taken back to their own place of residence.

Watching the joy as little ones see the falling snow, jump in October’s leaves, pick flowers off your perfectly groomed garden plants (intended to give to you, as their creation,) and splashing in baby pools, as you cautiously climb into a ground level pool with them, that you know you will have a hard time getting out of, is best remembered with laughter.  You learn to laugh at yourself, with their giggles, and newly found natural surroundings.  The sound of their laughter is far more important than the sound of your voice constantly saying, “no,” or the tone of your voice, constantly trying to correct them.

Walks are no longer simply exercise for an aging body; they are the pull and tug of a little hand or many little hands upon your body and soul, just waiting for a new adventure.  Singing and dancing return to your life in a big way, as you dance to quell the tears of a little one or join them in the “silly songs.”  Dancing your way through your living room with spins and turns will bring the laughter out of any child, so you make it an everyday activity, just to see those smiles.  They love you and you love them, and that’s all there is to it.

As they grow, you may feel more of a distance from them.  Their friends and technology have taken center stage, and your singing and dancing, although it still makes them laugh, has gone by the wayside.  Relating to older grandchildren relies a lot on your listening skills, because they have had to be silent, during the school day, and so much want to be heard by someone who will not be judgmental or reprimanding.  Attendance at their concerts, athletic pursuits and the like, makes you remember the genetic gifts their parents gave them, as well as allowing you to delight in the talents of your own grandchildren.  Although they may not act too thrilled that you are there, they do want you there, because they know you love them unconditionally, and henceforth will scan the bleachers or audience for you.  Might try to refrain from too many hugs and kisses, in public, for their individual performances when they reach that certain age.

As your photo albums have watched their growth throughout the years, they continue to be revitalized by their youth and their hope to go out and make the world a better place.  Your “old dreams” are often reborn in their accomplishments and quite possibly inspired by your discussions with them.  These “lost dreams” of your youth are newly visited/revisited in both you and your grandchild.

Love them. Enjoy time with them and let them give you their energy. Somewhere along the line you will learn to love red popsicles again, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese again and Cotton Candy will once again melt in your mouth, like it did when you were young.  Be grateful they take the time to cross over the river and through the woods, because they have learned that grandparents are special too.


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