Last night my parents had their oldest friends over and their family, the difference between the two sets of grandparents in the room was blatantly obvious. My parents live in another part of the province from us and their friends live minutes from their grandchildren. Guess which set is more involved in their grandkids lives?
My parents want us to move closer to them, that's all I've heard for the last 10 years. However, if we lived closer then they wouldn't have a life outside their grand kids and like their other friends they would talk incessantly about every little detail of their grandkids lives.
Not sure which I would prefer, my parents to be so involved their lives revolve around the kids or the way things are, where they flit in and out every other month for a few days.
Nine years ago a friend of mine had their first child and she was upset because the grandparents were too involved. They had converted a bedroom into a nursery and planned on babysitting all the time. I lived 8 hours from my parents and going to visit was a huge undertaking because there was no nursery, I couldn't even leave a play pen or high chair behind for the next trip. I had to take everything with me every time I went to visit - which was about every 4-6 weeks. I remember being envious of her.
Last night the daughter was telling me that her parents are too involved. I couldn't help wondering if that was possible. My parents are down for 2 days on their way to the states for a 2 month vacation, I offered to keep the kids out of school so they could have more time with them but they had coffee plans with my aunt. The Olympic Torch is going through town today and tomorrow morning really early... they could come with the kids to watch the kids enjoy it.... but 'no' they saw the torch when it went through their town and they didn't want to stand in a crowd to see it again. So we have to go really early in the morning because they want to see the kids after school today.
I know my friends have it easier because they have built in babysitters and we rarely if ever go out without the kids. However I don't think I'd want my parents to be a second set of parents to my kids. To see them almost everyday, to be obligated to go to dinner every week. I love my parents - but I've always been the independent type - the go my own way - "do it my way" type. My daughter's first sentence was "do it self" - that's our motto! Sometimes I wish they lived just down the street, but I'm selfish and I want my kids for myself not over at grandma's all the time.
My parents see my kids on their terms, on their timetable. They have a separate life outside of their grand kids and enjoy it immensely. They earned the right to be just grandparents and not a second set of parents for my kids. My grandparents weren't overly involved in my life. I prefer it this way. I don't think I'd like my parents to be a daily fixture in the kids lives, I get enough "advice" from them already. The time they do have with them is special, if fleeting and the kids look forward to their visits. I definitely prefer it the way it is, sorry mom we won't be moving closer anytime soon. Good thing my brother moved closer.... now he just has to have some kids.
This post was written in 2010. Soon after this post my mom's best friend was diagnosed with Cancer and died a few years later. She is deeply missed by everyone who knew her because she was so giving and amazing. My parents are still very healthy thankfully.