To My Children’s Grandparents

You are not who you used to be. The moment my husband entered the waiting room and smiled the words, “It’s a girl,” you became something new and different, while being altogether exactly the people we had grown up with. Before that moment, you were our parents. Nothing more. Nothing less. You were the ones who provided for us, comforted us, bailed us out, held us to consequences, and loved us unconditionally, whether we cared or not (though we usually did). You were either the gateway or the obstruction to everything we wanted to do and be…depending on the day. It was easy for us to find you annoying, or call you unfair, or roll our eyes, or take you for granted. Because we were your kids, and you were our parents. Nothing more. Nothing less.

grandparentsodeBut then you became grandparents…to our children. Now we are you, and you have suddenly become something magical. I know this because my own grandparents are magical, and I see my children look at you the same way I looked at mine. To them, you are as safe, and as good, and as much like home as mom and dad, but with more patience and a LOT more sugar. You have a way of being right when “mom and dad just don’t understand”…even if you are basically saying the exact same thing. You keep little secrets with them which are harmless, but feel very important and empowering. You teach them the arts of “unplugged” hobbies, like sewing or gardening or baking, which seem fascinating done by your hands, yet totally old-fashioned by ours. And nothing in the world seems better than another dinner at that same Chinese restaurant, followed by a trip to “the ice cream store,” because that is how it works when they are with Grandma and Grandpa. It is expected and special all at the same time, which is how magic is made.

Those parts of you that were our favorites growing up, those are the ones our children see in you all the time. The laughing part, the whispery kissing part, the fun and games part, the tickle bug part, the snuggly part, the indulgent part. Of course you couldn’t show those parts to us all the time; you had the very daunting task of raising us to be good, responsible people after all. But now that task is ours to undertake, leaving you free to show your favorite parts as much as you want. It makes us happy to see them, and to see our children enjoying them as we did.

Witnessing you as grandparents helps us see with new eyes how blessed we are to call you Mom and Dad. Having our own children makes us really understand for the first time every decision you made, every line you towed, every tear you shed. And we are finally capable of fathoming exactly how much you have loved us through it all, because it is the same love we feel for your grandchildren. We can only hope that one day they will be able to see us as we see you now.

Yes, you are not who you used to be. But neither are we. Our new titles fit all of us well.

September 7th is Grandparents Day. Tell a grandparent you love them, and you might just get cookie…without having to eat your peas first. 

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38 thoughts on “To My Children’s Grandparents

  1. Grandparents really DO change when they become grandparents. They suddenly have patience. They let their grandkids do things they NEVER let us do. You want candy for dinner? Sure! Get all sugared up and go home to your parents!


  2. Such beautiful thoughts Kelly. I haven’t actually heard the words or gotten to hold her yet but you captured how I already feel about Baby Girl Blind! (65 days until due date but who’s counting! 🙂 ) But so far it sure has been fun just thinking about her and spooling her, and so on and so on!


  3. Wow! This is awesome. Parenting is so intense, grandparenting is reaping the benefit of all that hard work. Lot less stress and lot less responsibility. Couldn’t be more proud of my grandkids’ parents!


  4. It has been so healing to watch my parents love my children in a way that they couldn’t love me. Not to say that they didn’t love me but they can love their grandchildren freely and without judgments or reservations. That’s why grandparents are special. Without the responsibility of having to make the big decisions and having to be the bad guy, a grandparent’s love is pure. You perfectly captured it!


  5. You hit the nail right on the head. Being a grandparent is the best. Last night I was at the grandkids house teaching Alexis the art of popping her first white head pimple that she wouldn’t let her mom do. I don’t know why I had to be the one to show her how to apply the hot wash rag but I did. We also went and got her first bra at school shopping because her mom couldn’t talk her into wearing one. I love this part about being a grandma. She makes me feel like I am an expert on everything!


  6. Beautiful Kelly. My mom’s crazy with the treats. She never shows up, even if it’s just for a minute, without milkshakes or frosties for the kids! My kids think they have the coolest Grandma ever, and she is pretty cool… And she’s so good at convincing them of things I can’t or talking sense into them. I grew up with my grandparents living across the country and we only saw them once a year, so I’m sooo glad my parents live so c lose!


    1. I love that my kids are growing up with theirs as well. I was lucky to live in the same city as both sets of grandparents, too. They were such a present part of my life growing up, and still are (well, three of the four…my grandpa passed seven years ago.) Your kids sound very lucky to have your mom.


  7. This is so wonderful and so true! What a wonderful testament to the special relationship between Grandparents and Grandchildren. As they say, “If mom says no, ask grandma!” 🙂


  8. I don’t know how I missed this unless it was because i was staring deeply into the eyes of my new grandson. This post made me cry with joy and sadness. Joy at the adventure I am beginning with my own grandmotherhood, and a sweet sadness at all the memories of my own children with their grandparents. Memories such as my son calling my mother and asking her to come pick him up bc his sister was too bossy, or having a little one tell me indignantly that after not getting his way he would ‘tell grandmother on me”, having grandmother come over and french braid my daughter’s hair before school because I didn’t know how….. all over now. A new cycle begins. Thanks for a great read.


    1. You probably WERE otherwise occupied 🙂 I love that grandma came over to french braid your daughters hair. I remember my grandma was the expert bow-tier. Everytime we had a dress with ties, she could make them into a beautiful bow in the back. Oftentimes if we were going somewhere where she would be, my mom would hastily tie the bow and say, “This will hold for now. We’ll find grandma as soon as we get there and she can retie it.” 🙂 I wonder what your superpower will be as a grandma…


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