Carol Cummings, RN, BSN, Expert on Aging Well

Contact Carol
26 December 2016

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year  – time between Christmas and New Year’s. It is sort of holiday and sort of not. It’s like the rest at the bottom of the hill on a roller coaster. The excitement of Christmas is over and we haven’t gotten to the full speed that will come after the first of the year.  

During this holiday week I have the privilege of spending time with all seven of my grandchildren.  I am grateful beyond measure to have, from my two children, seven little grands to love. And love them I do, in a way that defies description. Grandparents know what I mean; the rest of you will have to take my word for it. In the words of a Welch proverb, “Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.”

 It is this perfect love that makes the grandparent relationship so beneficial for kids. This layer of family support brings richness to everyone’s life for at least these three reasons. 

1) Grandparents are fresh troops. My son and his wife have four children, two of them being nine month old twins who still don’t sleep through the night (why don’t babies sleep anymore!?).  My daughter home schools three kids and has a child with major health challenges. Those parents are just plain tired. So naturally their patience can be challenged at times. That is where I can step in-maybe take the kids off their hands to let the parents recharge their batteries. I am not fed up with the three year old repeatedly asking to play games on the phone, I merely say yes, ask him which apps he wants downloaded (he knows  – yes he’s three) and hand him the phone  – for as long as he wants it or the life of the battery, whichever comes first. This leads me to my next point… 

2) Grandparents can say yes more often than parents. Grandma’s world (my grands call me CC) is “the Land of Yes.” Now that does not mean that I don’t stop a fight or a major catastrophe by saying no, but those are pretty much the only criteria. To the questions, “CC can we build a blanket fort?”, “CC can we go to the park?”, “CC can we have a snack?”, “CC do you want to play zoo, garden, blocks, dolls, trucks, video games,  or pretty much anything?” the answer is YES. When I am with them I can give them my undivided attention and unconditional love. I don’t have the burden of raising them; rather I am augmenting the job by being the icing on the cake. 

3) Grandparents help young adults get their footing. As grandchildren grow so does what we bring to their lives. My grandkids are young, but I have dear friends who have grown grandchildren with whom they have a wonderful relationship. Grandparents bring perspective to young adults who are navigating college and/or early career ups and downs. They can provide patient guidance and encouragement that plays a significant role in shaping a young person’s view of the world. Recently my friend’s grandson sought their perspective after a particularly disturbing world event. They gave him the “long view”, reminding him that they have survived these kinds of challenges and his generation will too.

This gift of being with my grandkids is the best one I received this holiday season. And I know it will bring all of us joy in the New Year. Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Be Well on Purpose!

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