It’s often said that becoming a grandparent is one of the biggest joys of getting older. Although the majority of experienced grandparents will affirm this opinion without hesitation, the outlook of becoming a grandma or grandpa can be frightening for first time grandparents.
The joy of becoming a grandparent is not reserved to only a few; it’s obtainable to every single one of us. There is no need for a grandparent to be of a definite age, enlightening level, and way of life or financial rank. Yet, just loving and caring for our offspring and grandchildren is not sufficient. The happiness comes from our understanding, creativity, liveliness, and fortitude to offer consistency and intention.
For many, this joyful occasion may arrive too soon or too late. When becoming a grandparent occurs before your thirties or forties, it does not correspond with the probable schedule of life. The name ‘grandparent’ is still associated with an older age and accepting it that early might be somewhat difficult. On the other hand, a grandchild arriving when you’re in your seventies or eighties will confront your bodily endurance, restraining your vigor for active physical participation. Either way you have no control of when you will become a grandparent, so cherish the moment, face your limitations and embrace your new life status.
Nothing prepares you for the incredible emotional experience when witnessing your child, who despite age is still your child, becoming a parent in his or her own right. It seems it wasn’t that long time ago when it was you taking care of a little baby who now is all grown up and holding his or her own baby. For first time grandparents this can be a very emotional moment often accompanied by flashing memories of their own parenting past. At times it might be also difficult to accept the new realities but newborn grand-kids have this magical way of ‘stealing’ your heart and never giving it back to you – so, go for the ride.
Becoming a grandparent is more than a tag or a label which you proudly display. First time grandparents will have to allow for some adjustments and life modifications. Whether your mature children are working moms or stay-at-home dads, be prepared to recognize their living alternatives. Raising children is more diverse now than when you were raising your kids, which reflects on your grand parenting role and responsibilities; be flexible and accept change.
Be reasonable and realistic. This is your grandchild, not your child; don’t look at raising it as ‘follow my parenting skills’ option or worse, as a second ‘mercy’ chance for your own parenting shortcomings. Being helpful will be always welcomed but leave parenting to the new parents and accept your role as a grandparent. Don’t be hurt or disappointed if your grandchild appreciates more his mom’s lullabies or his dad’s smile. Building the grandchild-grandparent bond takes time and is essential for first time grandparents. It’s a relationship on a totally different level than parenting and honestly it’s much, much more fun!
Becoming a grandparent for the first time is very emotional and also very unique. It can be stressful physically and psychologically but the experience is priceless and so very rewarding. Even though at times it might feel like that, please try to remember that the baby of your baby is not your baby – it’s more, it’s your grandchild.
Photo. Andrew Price