I grew up without grandparents in my life.

I was a late in life baby (also known as "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN I'M PREGNANT?!?!?!?!?") for my parents, and all four of my grandparents were dead long before I was born.

I knew other people had grandparents who were awesome, and one of my closest friends even lived with her grandma and grandpa and mom all together in a sweet little house that always smelled like yummy spaghetti sauce.  I spent a lot of time there growing up, so I knew that grandparents COULD be important.  Sometimes I would see other kids' grandparents at some school function or another, but it never really registered to me then that it was an entire layer of relationships that I was missing out on.  I was a kid, I had people who loved me, that was enough.

But now that I have kids of my own, I can see just what an important relationship it is.

I see a little girl who lives in our neighborhood light completely up when it is occasionally her grandma who picks her up at the busstop.

I see a grandma and grandpa of a kid in Zachary's class who have gone to every field trip and school function and special lunch and made-up awards ceremony that the school has had.

I see a grandpa who shows up at Zachary's tae kwon do class at least twice a week, straight from work and still in his postal service uniform, so he can watch his grandson in class.

I see Facebook photos and Instagram pics of grandparents taking their grandkids on vacations, to the park, or just hanging out with them for an afternoon or a weekend or a week.

And I hate it that my kids don't have that... That extra layer of love in their lives.

My parents are both dead, and R's parents, for lack of a better word, are just not interested.  Although we see them occasionally, it's definitely more of a quick drop in and/or holiday-only relationship than any sort of caregiving/daily interaction.  That's how they want it, and that's ok, but I still can't help but think my boys are missing out on something really important.

Unfortunately, it's one of those things that's totally out of my control.

Occasionally I scout out old people, looking for a potential surrogate grandparent or two, but that's a pretty awkward conversation to have with a near-stranger.  "Hey, I've seen you shopping at this Kroger every Wednesday for the last month.  You seem nice enough.  Are you perhaps in the market for a couple extra grandkids to play with occasionally?  We will even invite you to the Grandparents' Lunch at school - my treat!"

As someone who has never had a grandparent, it's hard for me to describe what I think they're missing, but I suspect it's a relationship that has all the love of a parent/child bond with none of the day to day tedium, discipline and WORK that is part of being a parent.  It's baking cookies without making them pick up their laundry.  It's giggles and snuggles and laughs without discipline, teaching moments and chore charts.  It's reading stories and eating special dinners without a green vegetable in sight.

It sounds pretty amazing, to be honest.

And I hate that my kids are missing it.

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  1. That makes me sad. My kids have their dad's parents who are amazing, and (technically) my mom (who isn't). We live so far from all of them though that it's difficult. This year Grandma and Grandpa came to my middle's birthday party ... via Skype!

    1. That is so awesome that the grandparents Skyped in! It makes me sad too, for my kids, but I'm just hoping that they won't really notice what's not there.

  2. I didn't grow up with grandparents in my life either. My one grandmother lived three states away and died when I was 7, so I barely knew her. When I started having kids it never even occurred to me how different my kids' lives would be compared to mine, and they have four grandparents who dote on them every chance they get.

    1. That's awesome that your kids have all four grandparents who are active in their lives! It really never occurred to me that grandparents SHOULD be around until I realized my kids were missing out.


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