Growing up, I remember comparing the “coolness” of my parents with that of my friend’s. Maybe someone’s mom let them go to the mall alone or gave them a really late curfew. Sometimes it was just that particular mom or dad’s vibe. You know which ones I’m talking about. The mom that’s still a hottie, listens to good music and acts as a therapist for all little junior high girls and their boy drama. The dad who you all secretly have a crush on who treats his daughter a bit too closely to royalty, sweeps his wife off of her feet with a kiss and a pat on the butt in your presence, and who spends his free time doing things like surfing. But, who really had those parents? And more importantly, who really wants those parents for real? If you had them, awesome.
So now I’m the parent and obviously there is no hope of me ever being the cool mom. Luckily, I’m okay with that since it’s never been my goal. But, with this change of role for me, has come a change in role for my parents. I had never thought about how the fact that I became a parent would also be a life change for my parents. Each generation sort of has to move up a level, which can feel so weird. Luckily, we have all seemed to navigate it pretty well. Now, rather than thinking about parental coolness, the realm of grandparent coolness has emerged. I always figured our parents would be great and they are. But, I never thought I would realize how really great they are when I heard about how lame others can be. With that being said, this post is by no means meant to make those who have grandparents who are low on the coolness factor feel badly, it’s rather for me to be able to finally come out and say how blessed and fortunate I am. It might even be a relief to some of you who have felt I take their coolness for granted. At long last, I am coming clean.
My parents rock. Maybe they didn’t do the above coolness requirements when we were young, but they were awesome. Really and truly cool parents. I see that now. When it comes to being grandparents they are equally amazing. They play with the girls, love the girls and just plain old delight in being with the girls. Not always an easy task. I am so grateful. And, they manage to take care of me at the same time. It is one of the best feelings in the world after becoming a mom to feel like a daughter again. I love it. When my mom is here I feel so loved, affirmed, and encouraged. It is awesome. I am so grateful. My in-laws are great too and I am keenly aware of the double blessing of having both my parents and my husband’s as such wonderful grandparents.
I hear stories of “grandparents gone wild” and realize that for many new parents, dealing with the new grandparents is exhausting, frustrating and full of drama. If that is you, I want to promise that I will stop complaining. Really. Not having support while raising children is so hard. If you have parents that expect you to travel thousands of miles to come and see them with your toddler and newborn while they refuse to ever come to see you, that sucks. If your parents come to visit and expect a clean home, dinner every night and children to never whine or fuss, that sucks. If you have a mother who comes to see you only to criticize your parenting style, post baby weight gain, or child’s diet, wow, how do you do it? Really. I am blown away by how many of my peers are dealing with such hard things and flourishing. You rock. Like I said, the more I hear about other grandparents, the more I realize that I am beyond blessed.
All of this is again to say if you are struggling with in-laws or parents, who just don’t get how hard it is to raise small children (if they seem to have had their memories wiped clean of that stage of their own life) hang in there. Feel free to glare at those of us who have support and don’t feel guilty. And I am publicly saying that what you’re doing is harder than what I’m doing. I will never again take for granted what my parents and in-laws do for our family. They are my lifeline and for that I am forever thankful.