On Becoming a Grandparent

In the three decades that I have shared parenting advice, I have heard many stories—both positive and negative—about moms and dads’ experiences with their children’s grandparents. Now that I am a first-time grandparent, I feel as if I have joined an exclusive club with terrific membership benefits.

In addition to baby-sitting duties, I take my sixteen-month-old grandson to an hour-long class near my house once a week. I admit that in the beginning, I was a bit nervous about embarking on the experience. While I relished the time alone with him, I did not know him the way I knew my own children. I had to learn his unique cues and needs.

Participating in a group with moms and babies and being the sole grandparent is fun and enlightening. I have found that I am still the same type of person that I was with my children. At first, I am a bit shy and take my time getting comfortable with others. Also, my greatest joy is observing what my grandson is doing. I am not overly intrusive, nor do I care if he’s participating in the singing or the games. I thoroughly enjoy watching him decide what he wants to do.

Since I am the only person who is not taking pictures during playtime, my full attention is on my grandson! His developmental changes from week to week are fascinating. He has grown increasingly comfortable moving around the room and interacting with the teachers and other children, and he always enjoys the messy sensory play. It feels delightful to not worry about his developmental milestones or how he compares to the other children.

When my daughter is concerned about a diaper rash, teething, or a runny nose, I can confidently assure her that all will be fine. Still, just as I experienced with my own children, I have difficulty organizing my schedule to accommodate what I want or need to do. I have always been selfish about my time and continue to be conflicted about how to balance my desires and responsibilities. As I am sure more grandchildren will be forthcoming, I hope to create a plan that will be both accommodating and gratifying.

Image courtesy of changelinks from Pixabay

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