Five years ago, my hubby and I moved from New York to Los Angeles for career and (subconsciously) to start a family in the Golden State.
The crazy part is we had so many close friends and family in New York, in LA we literally had one friend.
So when I had my oldest child, we were manic mode for the first six months. I tried to do it all, with very little help. It was overwhelming and I yearned for more family support close by.
Luckily for me by the time my daughter turned one, most of my family had joined me in Los Angeles!
It’s a dream come true...right?
Let’s discuss the perks: free babysitting, lots of family time and a growing bond between extended family and my girls.
And it really is a beautiful blessing to see how much my girls love their grandparents.
Seeing my girls with their grandparents brings back so many memories: I adored my grandmother and have so many fond memories of her teaching me to write a letter for the first time, making mint tea from our homegrown garden in the backyard and teaching me to sew a hole in my favorite sweater. The memories are endless; my grandmother embraced her role as matriarch and rock of our family so of course I cherish the moments when my girls bypass me and run straight for their grandma or excitedly tell me how they made cupcakes with her.
These are all the reasons why I love how close we are.
But at other times this quote comes to mind, “Nothing in life is ever free,” which clearly was referring to free babysitting services.
Having successfully raised you, grandparents have an air of confidence on their side. They feel like they’ve raised you just fine so whatever they do should be okay, too.
Regardless of whether you have written it down, texted them, posted it on the fridge or reminded them as you walked out the door to (please!) not give your girls sugar or let them watch more than one show on PBS kids, the rules can seem to fade away when grandparents are around.
They love to spoil with sugar and promises of grandiose adventures or super duper cool toy things.
But then we—the parents—are left with cleaning it all up. We are left with the sugar high, the sassy outbursts from watching too much tv and the nonstop talk of trips to Disneyland or new dolls!
Weren’t our parents young parents once too? Weren’t they busy with work, marriage and family? Weren’t they overwhelmed with trying to do it all?
I believe the answer is yes.
And this is what my husband has to constantly remind me: our parents have raised their children. They made the hard decisions. They disciplined us. They sacrificed and endured so we could have more opportunity.
Becoming a grandparent—spoils and all—is now their reward.
So I try to remind myself that my husband is right. Grandparents are allowed to do the fun stuff now. (Within some reasonable limits!)
My mother was/is an awesome mom. She was a single mother with three kids.
She is my hero.
So yes, she is allowed to sit back and spoil my girls.
I hope grandparents can take a minute to reflect and put themselves back in our shoes every once in a while. Yet, I am working on being more patient and realizing that the relationship between grandparent and child can be just as beautiful and beneficial as the one between parent and child.
So the next time they spend the day with Grandma and have dried frosting in the corner of their lips and on their fingertips, I will remember that I am beyond grateful for the joy in my girls’ eyes and the love in their hearts.