A Thank You to All the Grandparents that Help
I can't imagine what it's like to be a grandparent. You work so hard to raise your kids, sacrificing so much, you send them off into the world of adults, taking a deep breath and sighing with relief that you finally made it and maybe getting just a teensy bit excited that you have some long-awaited taste of freedom …
And then boom, grandbabies enter the picture.
The grandparenting game has changed a bit over the years. Grandparents have actually taken on a lot more duties for their grandchildren, from babysitting to even a more recent trend of retiring to care full-time for their grandchildren. Studies show that being around grandchildren can ward off some worrisome health conditions, including dementia and depression, but being involved in grandchildren's lives can also take a toll on grandparents.
They may put off their own retirement and financial future, or even smaller activities like spending time with their own friends. And some grandparents may genuinely want to be more involved in their grandchildren's lives, but just can't because of health, time, or distance.
In our family, my children are lucky to have two sets of grandparents very close by. We actually live right down the road from my parents, a choice we made on purpose and one I have been so thankful for.
My husband and I started having kids relatively young (at 22) and now at age 30, we have four munchkins in our brood. Our parents are young grandparents now and they are all still working full-time jobs themselves still, so we know and respect that there are boundaries when it comes to our kids. They certainly can't take work off to care for our kids, nor do either of us ever want them to see being with our kids as a chore. So we try hard not to respect boundaries, but in a pinch, it makes all the difference to know that we have grandparents our children can rely on. We are so thankful for their help and genuine joy in being involved in our children's lives. It's a blessing that not all kids get to have.
I think that anytime a child gets to have a relationship with a grandparent it's an incredible thing, and I hope to keep that relationship as fun and easy-going as possible. Every family is different, but for all the grandparents out there who are watching grandchildren full-time, part-time, or just helping out once in a while so that their exhausted adult children can grab a quick bite to eat, I think I speak for all of us when I say: