Mimi, Nona, Papa, Gaga, Grandpa….The many names of the grandparents that love and adore my son.
With Grandparents day this month, I’m feeling especially grateful for the grandparents in our life.
A few years ago, my husband and I were living a career driven life in the DC Metro area. He was working on Capitol Hill and I was teaching in a prestigious county in Maryland. We had a beautiful place to live, good friends and were living the city life. It was a wonderful and exciting time in our marriage, but when I started to talk about having kids, my husband kept saying not now. What it really came down to was the lack of grandparents and family close by. Growing up I had family all around that helped to raise me, but my husband grew up without seeing his extended family very often, and he wanted something different for our family. Shortly after that conversation, we moved home to Vermont and started our family. And I can say with confidence, it was the right decision for us.
You can read article after article about the importance of grandparents in a child’s life.
Grandparents help develop social skills, manners, and confidence.
They can provide unconditional love, positive feedback and support during times of struggle. Our family helped us buy our first home, did laundry after MJ was born, offer free babysitting, bring fresh vegetables to us and supports our dreams, goals and aspirations. They’ve been there from the day he was born and haven’t left his side since.
One of the best parts of time with grandparents is seeing them teach MJ about their own special talents and interests. He has had many many special memories and “firsts” with his grandparents. His wonderful Italian Nona is an artist and lives on a gorgeous piece of land in VT where they grow vegetables together, go fishing, and find snakes and bugs. She can even get him to eat raw asparagus from the garden!! She has shared her love of painting with MJ, encouraging him and helping him create beautiful artwork. She helped him with his first ever art show! His Gaga loves the outdoors too. She takes him to the river to build endless rock and stick formations and let’s him gets as muddy as he wants. (Then she even gives him a bath before I pick him up!) His Papa takes him on endless trips to the airport and hikes up Mt. Philo. He used to have to encourage MJ to get to the top, now he has trouble keeping up! There have been trips to Maine with his Mimi, where she willingly digs in the sand and brings him endless buckets of water for his sand hole! These are just a few examples of the things he’s done with his amazing grandparents.
Everyone says he’s a lucky boy and I couldn’t agree more.
From time to time there are parenting differences or generational changes in raising kids that require conversations, but I’m lucky that they are all very open and respectful of our parenting decisions. This also challenges me to be more flexible in my parenting, allowing MJ to really experience the world around him. I have found this phrase to be very helpful, “I know you raised babies, but he’s my baby, so I just have to say…” My mother once told me that she’d take better care of him then she did me, because she’d never want him to get hurt on her watch!!
But the best thing by far is all the love. He loves them so much and they love him right back. And don’t you think we need more of that?
Tell me about the grandparents in your life!