Grandparents’ Day is coming up on September 11th. I know, I know. There are a lot of special “days” on the calendar and it can get a little silly. From Middle Child Day to Drink White Wine Day, there are more than a few that are clearly just there for marketing purposes. And arguably, even some of the more established ones like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day have lost some of their sincerity also, seen as a big cash grab by the card, gift, tie and flower folks.
Do we need a Grandparents’ Day? Isn’t every day Grandparents’ Day when you have grandchildren? Isn’t that the gift?
I was a Mom of four before I was a grandma of two so I certainly got my fair share of wonderful hand made gifts and cards through the years. The rule in our house was, that as soon as a child was old enough to make something on their own, it was their responsibility to give a gift to their mom or dad. A card from school, a book of coupons for various household chores, wonky pottery or a painted hand print…the best.
The importance to me on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day is simply to take a moment and appreciate that being a mom or a dad is a lot of work. And you don’t get to choose whether you want to do all of that work, most of the time. Your newborn isn’t going to give you the night off, you just have to do it. Your toddler isn’t going to be able to cook and serve you dinner, no matter how much they insist they can do it by themselves. You just have to do it. Your teenager isn’t going to like your nagging. You just have to do it. You are responsible for them. And so a reward or recognition can be a really welcome gesture.
But being a grandparent means there is mostly no implied or obligated work. If we are lucky to have grandkids within reach, we get to choose, with their parents’ approval, how much time we spend with them and what our responsibilities are during those times. Our number one obligation is listening to their parents and accepting the way that they want us to grandparent their kids. Just as you felt you were the boss of your own kids growing up, they are the boss of theirs. You’re on the Advisory Board, and guess what, you might not get asked for advice very often, if at all.
I wrote a book called “I Am So The Boss Of You”, which was in reference to my own children, and I now feel that I could write a follow up called “You Are So The Boss Of Me”, when it comes to my daughter, in regards to my grandchildren. I’m happily handing over that title.
I’m not expecting to get a present from my grandkids (they’re toddlers) and I don’t want to create extra work for my daughter. She’s busy enough. Besides, I have other people to pick on. For instance my three other adult kids who haven’t provided me with grandkids. I’m still your mom, and know that I might have some of those coupon books lying around. They don’t have to be used on Mother’s Day and there are no expiry dates. It’s the law. Be prepared to wash the dishes, mow the lawn, watch a movie of my choice with me, or get me a glass of wine whenever I ask for one. Especially on National Drink White Wine Day.