How To Know Where The Grandparenting Road Leads

I’m the kind of grandparent I wanted when I was growing up…

It’s pretty simple actually, my family was close knit, tight, and fun loving, but my grandparents were present, involved, and active in my life. Well, two of them were…

Dad’s father passed before I was born. Cancer stole him away and left in his place a step-grandmother who was mentally and emotionally challenged during the time I knew her. His mother was a different story, one I most likely won’t share beyond acknowledging that she existed on a far different plain that I ever might have been able to understand. Her involvement in my life was minimal, by her choice.

The grandparents who lived across the street from me during my youth were active, involved, and ‘grandparently’ in most instances. They appeared as if by magic whenever my parents needed backup, or they wanted to see us. They worked in their yard early in the morning, and my favorite early memories are waking up to my grandmother whistling “Red Wing.” My grandfather would work in the shop, work in the garden, or randomly walk across the street to take my sister or I back to his place to ‘work’ with him.

We spent many days helping Grandma prepare a meal, bake cookies or cakes, or sew new curtains, clothing, or some other craft. I learned to sew on a treadle machine at my grandmother’s side.

The road to being a good grandparent has many forks, and you get to choose those forks as your grandchildren are born, as they grow, and as they get older. The fork you choose will often determine your relationships with them, with your children, or later with your great grandchildren. I remember many of my parent’s friends saying, “I’m not the babysitter. I raised my own children.”

Growing up, I knew I wanted to be involved, as a parent, and as a grandparent. I wanted to be the grandparent who stuck around, had fun with the grands, and showed up for events, parties, and when needed. I didn’t want to just be there for the good times, I wanted to be counted on when I was needed too.

As a grandparent, I’ve seen all the options. I’ve even seen forks in the road where life could have taken a variety of turns. Each time… At every fork… I’ve looked at the road ahead and chosen to be an active part of my grandchildren’s lives. I’ve chosen to be an active part of my children’s lives.

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