I will be honest – I never thought I would ever be a grandmother. Why? Well first of all, I never thought I was ever going to get married. I did. I thought I wanted to be a professional woman and not have children – and I had a child. Now that all of those “I never thoughts” happened to me and I am excited about being a grandmother to my granddaughter Olivia. She is amazing and has given me new insights into grandbaby love and my role as Grandma KiKi. The emotions that go along with this new role are emotions that one can’t describe until you also are a grandparent and can experience for yourself this new love, new relationship and new role. So I wanted to share my experience of pride at being a Grandma with you.
Here are a few reasons I love being Grandma KiKi. I experience:
1. The purest love: the affection my granddaughter shares with me has taught me about “pure” and nearly perfect love. The innocence of babyhood brings the pure love with it and I get to receive it with no expectation except to love back.
2. I feel joy, pure and simple. There’s nothing like spending the day with a grandchild to make you remember why life is an adventure of discovery. (Of course, later be sure to allow time for a nap.) Grandchildren are nonjudgmental lovers of just about everything, and their joy is contagious. To hear a baby or toddler laugh from their belly over you making a face or a funny sound brings laughter to your belly as well.
3. I live in the moment. Grandchildren, whether they’re happy or sad, live in the here and now. They make great role models for mindfulness and spending time with them offers excellent training for living in the moment we have every day.
4. I’m no longer in charge. Being somewhat of a “in charge” woman, as a Grandma, it took time for me to accept that I have no say in anything which is not a bad thing at all I have discovered. Unlike their parents, I don’t have to multitask and work, pay bills or do the laundry while also trying to spend quality time with a child. And I don’t have to worry so much about whether they go to sleep at night (often they don’t) or if they refuse to eat dinner. My job is to love and model integrity, honesty, kindness and empathy. My job is to listen and be present but not to control or tell the parents what to do unless they ask for my advice. I really like just having a job that entails loving my granddaughter.
5. I live my life on my terms as a Grandma. This is one of those rumors about grandparenting that turns out to be blissfully true. I treasure my visits with my granddaughter, but I’m a better Grandma KiKi when I pay attention to my own limits and honor them. There’s a reason why most people have babies in their 20s and 30s, not at age 58 or 63.
6. And I can model and teach. In addition to being my granddaughters’ living link to one branch of her family tree, I am to be a role model for her — of ethical wisdom, emotional intelligence, generosity and kindness, respect for the environment, acceptance of life’s inevitable imperfections and challenges. Being one step removed from the front lines of child rearing, as a grandparent, I have a precious opportunity to transmit the values I hold dear, with less risk of backlash. When she is a teenager I might just be the one she turns to when she is upset with her parents and doesn’t want to talk to them.
7. I know what’s important. I don’t really care whether my granddaughter will get into the Harvard of preschools — or the Harvard of Harvard, for that matter. I want Olivia to be happy, healthy and live productive, richly satisfying and a self-honoring life..
8. I have a free pass. The lack of baggage, as well as judgment, goes both ways . As soon as I became a Grandma, Grandmotherhood offered me a free pass to act like an imbecile- and Olivia laughs at me and enjoys me being silly – a great relief from the grownup, professional world in which I must frequently appear serious and all business.
9. I can share the pleasure and brag with other grandparents: I adore my granddaughter with all my heart. I can’t wait to be with her, to see her go through her stages of “changing” into a person. I take great pleasure in spending time together with her in real life, Facetime and/or on Skype. I can never have enough pictures of my Olivia to proudly show everyone and anyone who will allow me to share them.
10. My future legacy will live on. Knowing that my granddaughter Olivia is the future in my family gives me satisfaction in knowing I will be loved and my memory will go on through her and my relationship with her. It is a privilege and big responsibility to make that legacy one that will carry on for many generations to come and long after I am gone. My life now and then will mean something positive to the family history. For that I am honored and blessed.