I love when the kids call. This morning I got to talk with one of my sons during his commute to work – gotta love those Bluetooth phone connections! One of the things he said was that he really won the lottery when it came to grandmothers. And he did. Each of his grandmothers was a remarkable woman and as loving a grandparent as a child could ask for.
His remark made me think about how different I am as a grandmother.
My cousins and I would run excitedly to grandma’s kitchen cupboard that housed a dozen jars of homemade cookies, enough that each of us could find our favorite. Grandma was an awesome secret keeper and I could share with her all the things I would never tell my mom. We were kindred spirits. She kissed the back of my neck and I went home.
My mom had a toy closet where munchkins would dash to sort through a treasure-trove of Nana’s toys. She took the children one at a time for quality visits, went fishing, flew kites, made educational spots like the library and sea aquarium fascinating field trips, and made memory books with silly captions on the pictures. And then she hugged them tight and sent them home.
I want to be that kind of grandmother – but I’m not. Some days it makes me feel sorry for myself and other days it makes me just plain mad. I’m a little embarrassed to be jealous of grandmothers who get to enjoy that special relationship unfettered by the responsibilities of parenting. Don’t get me wrong, Mom would swat a kid on the behind if he misbehaved but discipline wasn’t the mainstay of her job.
When you laugh, sing, dance, and play as a parent, it’s a very different thing. There is something undefinable about the difference between a mother and a grandmother. And when Grandma has to cross that boundary and wear the hat that should be Mom’s, something gets lost. The grandkids don’t run in with excitement and anticipation. They’re just home.