Being a grandmother has many advantages. Among the many perks are unconditional bragging rights and unconditional love. We are unencumbered by the stress of young parenthood and have the freedom to enjoy every change and accomplishment of these little people, without all of the work. We do not have to worry about the extra laundry loads but can fully enjoy the mud pies.
One of the benefits of having grandchildren is having an excuse to be silly and young at heart. We can justify taking off early from the office on a Friday afternoon to sit in a dark theatre wearing 3-D glasses, munching popcorn and watching, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Where else in life can such precious memories be created by something as simple as sharing a bag of multi-flavored tootsie rolls?
" I love the lime ones, grandma." my grandson tells me and kisses me on the cheek. Those kisses on the cheek will make you melt!
The hard part is not getting carried away. We do carry on, we proud grandparents and we have to watch it or we will bore our childless and grandchild less counterparts to tears. There are also the seasoned grandparents, those that have so many grandchildren that they are past the gaga stage that we young grandparents enjoy. They simply nod with understanding as we babble on and then change the subject.
We also have to watch ourselves so we don't become "that grandparent", you know the ones who are way too involved. We have to allow our kids to be good parents and we sometimes have to keep quiet about things. It is difficult to remain silent on a topic that means so very much to us but silent we must be, even if we think we know better.
If we are lucky we will be invited to the soccer games and dance recitals and we will find ourselves with a lump in our throats as we nervously watch them, hoping that they will succeed, giving them a high five when they do, and standing by with words of encouragement when they do not.
We also have to exercise restraint. Spoiling them is so very much fun but we must take care not to go too far. We must not overshadow what their parents try to do for them with our grandiose gestures and we can't buy them everything they see and allow them to do whatever they want. Not all of the time anyway.
That being said, there are certain inalienable grandparent's rights. It should always be OK to share tootsie rolls, build forts with every pillow in the house, hang things from string, and dance our crazy dance to our favorite movie theme song; I Like to Move It, Move It, in our pajamas as we watch Madagascar for the umpteenth time. It is the grandparent's right to make the kid's favorite foods. Mom and Dad can deal with the peas and carrots. We get to handle the pizza and spaghetti. We will make sure that there is ample root beer and plenty of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish at all times and we never have to take them for shots or dentist appointments. We always get to have a hug and a kiss goodbye and we do not have to go to parent teacher conferences or PTA meetings.
With all of this in mind, I will watch with anticipation for the next 3-D movie feature and I will be first in line for tickets. I will occasionally splurge for special things and make pepperoni pizzas on demand. Finally, I will try not to go on and on about any of this at the next dinner party! I promise.