Five years later, my daughter has grown into an energetic little girl who loves to run, dance and test her limits. I’m thrilled to be her mom, but sometimes I think grandmotherhood looks pretty appealing. It provides the opportunity to indulge without worrying about the consequences. How many people wouldn’t be tempted to skip childrearing and go straight to the role of grandparent? It would be like passing over the salad for dessert.
And the admiration goes both ways between grandparents and grandchildren. I loved my Grandma Ruth more than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy combined. As far as I was concerned, she had no flaws. She bought me pink-frosted donuts for breakfast, took me to the movies, and warmed me with her bear hugs. I kept her picture in my bedroom and looked longingly at her gray hair and smiling brown eyes whenever I missed her. I also saved the letters she sent me from her house 500 miles away. One of my favorites was a card that looked like a piggy bank with little slots for ten dimes. She wrote and told me to use the money the next time the ice cream truck drove by. My own mother didn’t give me money for such things.
This card is still one of my treasured mementos and yet I haven’t revealed to my own daughter what that yellow truck that plays “Pop goes the Weasel” in our neighborhood is selling. What is wrong with me? I think it’s a combination of trying to eat nutritiously and avoid having to say “no.” So much of motherhood revolves around “no”. Ah, to be a grandparent and always say "yes".
My own parents, who taught me to delay gratification so well, have loosened up a bit and are enjoying retirement a mere two hour drive away. But to a five-year-old, getting there takes longer than forever. Today an envelope addressed to my daughter arrived from across the state. The letter inside said “The next time you visit, we can go swimming and do more embroidery.” Before I finished reading “We miss you”, my daughter's eyes widened and she asked if she could go visit Gran and Granddad right now.
She adores visiting her other grandma, too. When asked why she likes to go there, she explains that Grandma doesn’t make her take naps and she lives closer. I suspect Grandma’s endless supply of Disney DVDs also plays into this love affair.
When my daughter was born, I teared up thinking how lucky she was to live close to both sets of grandparents. She even has the opportunity to know her great-grandmother, an eighty-one-year-old dynamo who just returned from a trip to her hometown in Germany.
My daughter is lucky. And so am I. When I’m sleep-deprived, sitting in the pediatrician’s office for yet another ear infection, trying to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner, I need to remember that motherhood has its benefits. It’s an intense, amazing job with perks like holding a tiny hand while crossing the street and hearing a spontaneous “I love you” in the middle of dinner. I need to remember that these perks won’t last forever.
Then one day, I hope, I’ll be promoted to the status of grandmother. And I’ll never say the word “no” again.
Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to start practicing. I think I hear the ice cream truck now. . . .
YOUR TURN TO COMMENT: Which is better: being a mom or a grandmother?
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