When couples welcome children into their lives, the change isn’t just about them. The whole dynamic of parenting is extended to the new grandparents.
You are given a glimpse into when they first became parents
Let me paraphrase a line I read on a website several months ago about parenting. It goes something like “becoming a parent is like having new doors open that you never thought were there before.” It’s the same with grandparents.But in their case it is the reopening of doors that were closed when their children left the nest.
Joni Mitchell said it best – “we’re captive on a carousel of time.” Whenever my parents are with my two boys, an archive of almost forgotten memories are lifted from cold storage. Like how there’s always a serving of taho in the afternoon for snacks or how my mom would always sing and dance with me, as she now does to my boys. It’s like these memories were put on stasis and were triggered by my mini me’s.
Everything else to them is trivial (even you!)
This is funny but what’s the best way to get your parents off your back? Given them grandchildren! Nothing else will be more important after they’re out. I’ve heard this same phrase echoed by my friends who have young kids by their parents, “I don’t care what happens to you, just make sure nothing happens to my grandchildren!”
Their quality of life improves
You’ve probably read about it online, but studies do show that grandkids may be responsible for adding a few years to your parents quality of life. The company, awe, enthusiasm go both ways. What’s interesting to me is that I’m basically seeing a mirror of my childhood – the way my brother and I would hang with my parents in the bedroom at night is quite similar to how my parents do so now with the kids. And they’re both fine with keeping strict iPad time. Bless the world for grandparents, because they know how far they can go when it comes to spoiling our kids.
You experience unconditional love going full circle
When we examine the role of grandparents under the lens, we see nothing but love, wisdom and in a way, a different sort of nagging. It’s funny how I personally get reminded to do things, care of my mom but told through the mouth of my eldest son. “Dad, aba is asking if you went to mass na. Don’t forget to go to mass okay?”
This article originally appeared in the Manila Bulletin lifestyle section for September 2018.