Grandma Janice Marriott shares her words of wisdom on being the best grandparent you can be, in this extract from her book Grandparents Talk.
No matter what our circumstances, whether we are distant and regularly Skyping or close by, grandparents can be significant people in the lives of our grandchildren. How do we contribute to our grandchildren’s lives?
We get a kick out of seeing our own children as parents. We want to rush in, look after the new mum, clean and cuddle the new baby, cook a hundred meals - but we don’t. We are older and wiser now.
With the new parents:
As the babies get older we make a few rules for ourselves.
We don’t forget:
What DO we do?
Grandparenting keeps us young. We exercise our bodies by crawling around on the floor and running after toddlers down the pavement. Later we exercise our brains by trying to understand the homework exercises and trying to memorise the names of every dinosaur that ever walked the Earth.
We tell ourselves that keeping up with the modern world is good for us. We are determined to learn to use:
The ideal grandparent Barbie doll would come complete with:
But there is no model for a real life ideal grandparent. Families all vary. We get along as best we can. And we grandparents know that at the end of a long day our grandchildren are not our own children. Their parents are the most important people in their lives. So we prepare ourselves for that moment when the grandchildren say goodbye and go off with their parents without a backward glance at either the mess or the love so obviously on display. We make sure we have our own, grown up, way of relaxing after they have all gone home.
Grandparents Talk by Janice Marriott RRP $39.99 Available at all good bookstores.