In April 2019, I’ll be a grandmother. *screams, jumps around room*
*Smooths hair* I’ve given up on the idea that I’m too young to be a grandma. I mean, people still gasp when I tell them the age of my kids, and as long as that continues, I think it’s safe to embrace the joy of being a grandma.
Because I had a grandma who rocked my world. I am a writer because of her encouragement. Apparently my Roman nose comes from her, and so does my strangely long second toe.
When I was six, she moved away and became my first pen pal. Yes, that used to be a thing before there was a World Wide Web that made such an idea obsolete.
I want to be involved in my grandchild’s life.
But what does that mean?
Grandma Next Door
Before we had kids, my husband and I bought our first house. It was down the block from his parents’ house and the place he’d grown up.
I was more than a little nervous about this. I wondered if he parents would be over all the time, interfering, trying to tell us how to do things.
And then I had kids. Mine weren’t the first grandchildren, but I still feared the worst.
It never came to pass.
My inlaws were respectful of our privacy and space. They rarely dropped by unannounced, and we truly didn’t see them any more frequently than we had when we lived across town.
My mom lived up the road a few miles and worked down the street. I didn’t see her at my house all the time either.
So, I tell myself that just because I live close to the grandkids doesn’t mean I will see them every day.
But, these grandparents did show up to Saturday soccer games and weeknight t-ball games. If there were school concerts, they attended. Eventually, there were high school events, and they tried to be supportive of those, too.
That’s what I want for my grandkids. I want them to know I’m proud of their accomplishments and I support their dreams.
Can I be proud and supportive if I live an hour or more away?
I think that’s a definite YES as long as my health allows it. If my heredity plays its role, I should have at least twenty years of healthy days ahead. That sees me through their high school years, for sure.
I could drive an hour on a weeknight to attend a concert or play. It wouldn’t be a hardship to drive that far on Saturday to watch a soccer game (although I’d prefer to watch just about any other sport over soccer).
What if we moved further away? What if the “commute” was three or four hours? Would I still be available to support their activities?
Visiting Grandma’s House
The truth is, I loved visiting Grandma’s house. I loved baking with her (and it wasn’t all about licking the beaters) and playing games with her.
This is the grandmother I want to be. Oh, and the jury is still out on the special grandma name, but I’m leaning toward “Lolly” and my husband could be “Pop.” Then the kids could say, “We’re going to Lollypop’s house!”
In this day when kids are SO involved in activities, will my grandkids want to spend time at my house?
The bigger concern for me: if I live too far away, will I make it impossible for them to do so?
Yes, I think my husband and I should plan our retirement according to our dreams. But we didn’t have children so we would never see them or spend time with them.
I’ve enjoyed having the monthly game nights with my kids. I’d love to see that continue with grandkids, teaching them to play rummy and cribbage. Of course there will be Chutes and Ladders and Sorry. Some games are too classic to pass up.
I won’t see them every day. I doubt we’ll ever live “down the block.”
Friends of ours said they LOVE living three hours away because when they go to see the grandkids, it can be a special trip and devoted to total grandkid time. It makes the visits special.
Is that a truism I can count on?
Even after my grandmother moved two states away, I still considered her a loving and involved grandma. In this day of Facetime and Skype, I’m sure I could check in weekly with my grandchildren.
But will I?
We’d planned to do the same with our adult kids, but their work schedules don’t mesh with ours. And they’re busy with their lives. Will it really be different when kids come?
What are your thoughts? What sort of relationship did you have with your grandparents? What kind of grandma do kids these days want?