Sunday 26th October was International Grandparents Day. I’m not much into days for names sake but at my kids school they held a morning assembly to celebrate the contribution Grandparents make to our community.
It was clear that Grandparents take their role very seriously – there were more adults in the hall than at the prize giving night at the end of year! Both Granny’s and Grandpa’s turned out in droves.
The teachers made a great film of all the kids in the school saying why they loved their grandparents. These were the take aways….
‘I love my grandparents because they buy me McDonald’s.’
‘I love my grandparents because they take me to the park.’
‘My grandparents look after us a lot.’
‘I love my grandparents because they give me presents.’
‘I love my granddad because he gives me lollies and we hide them from mum and dad.’
‘I love my grandparents because they cuddle me all the time.’
I didn’t hear….
‘I love my grandparents because they tell me what to do’,
‘I love my grandparents because they make me brush my hair’,
‘I love my grandparents because they made me go to bed on time’.
In the eyes of a child, a grandparent’s role is to shower them in love and break the rules. Break the rules that the parents set so the kids can HAVE FUN. Not outrageous breaking of the rules, but just enough so they both can ‘get away with it’.
I was lucky enough to have Grandparents who loved me and taught me lots of fun things to do. One of them was to play cards. Rummy and poker were our two favourite and Grandpa would remind us (being a WWII vet) that if we did trick where he used to play we would be shot. It was half joking/half serious but we loved it when he said it.
My dear old Granny would sit us on her bench and feed us sugar cubes. It was the perfect way to rot our teeth but it was fun and I remember it 30 years later. My grandma didn’t raise her voice or get cross with me – I remember drinking from a bubbler once and her saying ‘don’t put your mouth on it because people’s teeth aren’t as clean as yours’. Great way to teach me not to put my mouth on a bubbler and I remembered it. I had a strong bond with my Granny, so strong that she actually died on my birthday. I take it as an honour of our bond.
My Ma Dot would listen to me practice my piano for hours – it really must have been so boring for her but she did it and she would tell me how wonderful it was. We played Uno and Connect 4 and Chinese checkers. She would make me toasted cheese sandwiches on the Aga and we were allowed to put honey on our weetbix in the mornings. Her freezer was full of chocolate coated ice creams. She would always have home made biscuits and made a killer rainbow cake for birthdays.
My own parents are now grandparents and Mum thinks that being a Grandma is better than being a mum as she gets to enjoy my children without having the deadlines and pressures. My mum and dad split and remarried when I was young so my children have six grandparents and all live far away, but they all play their own important role in the lives of our children. They are also lucky enough to have a Great Grandma who is still alive. I believe it is grandparents role to make their own relationships with their grandchildren and so they have.
We move around a lot and so my children have been lucky enough to find ‘local grandparents’ to call their own in every place we have lived. Currently, my youngest daughter has adopted my CEO as her quasi grandfather and much to the horror of everyone in my workplace she calls him ‘Old Man’ and he loves it. He comes to our house and plays hide and seek for hours and my children are completely stirred up when he leaves – they are both richer for it.
My son wrote this about his Grandparents for Grandparents day…
‘Grandparents are special because they spend time with me like going to the park, they care for me because they love me. They are family members because they are probably our mums or dad’s dad or mum. They keep an eye on us so we don’t run away. They give us treats when we are as good as gold. Without them we would not be alive because they made our mum and dad. They will always be there for us when we fall and hurt ourselves.’
It is an honour to remember the richness that grandparents can play in the lives of our children – especially as communities diminish and the notion of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ still rings true.
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About Anna Partridge, Founder of BombardedMum
Anna Partridge is a school teacher, parent educator, mother of three young children and founder of parenting and education blog, BombardedMum www.bombardedmum.com. She walks alongside mums with children aged 0 to 12 years to run the often treacherous gauntlet of motherhood! She inspires mums to be the most awesome mum they can be and gives them empowerment, inspiration and confidence to be a great mum and great woman. Anna runs parenting workshops about ‘Raising Confident and Resilient Kids’ and other parenting related topics. Through her work, Anna is building a community of mothers who are sharing the inspiration and challenges of raising the next generation. To work with Anna and be the most awesome mum, book your complimentary 30 minute Mummy Mojo call here. To find out more about Anna Partridge, visit her website here.