I’m not a grandparent yet. Not even close (my girls are both under the age of 4). But I’ve had the pleasure of watching my parents and in-laws become grandparents, and from what I can tell, it’s a pretty sweet gig. In honor of CJP’s Bubbe Contest, I’ve compiled a list of the ten best things about being a grandparent:
1. You don’t have to change diapers. (Need I say more?)
2. You get to watch your children become parents, and revel in the amazing people they have become. Not only did you raise them to take care of themselves, but apparently you did a good enough job that they can now take care of someone else! (And in those moments when they’re less than fabulous, well, they’re not your responsibility any more, right?)
3. Your job is to play with your grandkids and have fun with them. You don’t have to worry about power struggles over eating broccoli or brushing teeth or getting to bed on time, because when the kids melt down, you get to hand them back to their parents.
4. That last point is so important it’s worth repeating. You get to send them home at the end of the day.
5. After years of talking about, thinking about, and praying about le-dor va-dor, from generation to generation, you finally get to live it. Your genes, your family history, and your legacy are living on in front of your very eyes.
6. As you watch your own children worry about all of the tiny details of child-rearing, you can relax with the knowledge that only comes from years of parenting wisdom. You know that it all comes out in the wash and that most kids turn out fine, regardless of how many time-outs they get, or whether or not they’re allowed to have a second bowl of ice cream.
7. You get to give your grandkids that second bowl of ice cream. And they love you for it.
8. Sleep. You can sleep. Now, I am aware that not all grandparents sleep well (I believe it was Erma Bombeck who observed that if you’re not sleeping at your age, it’s probably because you’ve forgotten how), but at least it’s not a crying baby keeping you up.
9. There’s something truly amazing about the grandchild/grandparent relationship. I’ve only experienced it as a grandchild, but my grandparents have been an amazing source of support, love, advice, wisdom, and fun throughout my life. They played, and still play, a role in my life that is completely different from that of my parents, and I am grateful for it.
10. I’m leaving this one for you, for whatever you find most fulfilling about being a grandparent. Perhaps it’s the way your grandchildren remind you of family members who have passed away or conjure memories of your children when they were young. Perhaps it’s the joy you get in reading Passover stories or lighting the Hanukkah candles together, perhaps it’s the pleasure you take in the knowledge that your family line is continuing on. Whatever it is, enjoy it, and enjoy your grandchildren. They will appreciate it, and they will never, ever forget it.
If you’d like to celebrate the Bubbe, Oma, or Grandma in your life, nominate her for CJP’s Bubbe Contest. Voting has already begun, and will run through May 13. (The winner will enjoy a brunch for up to 8 people by Catering by Andrew!) You can also follow the contest on Facebook (Facebook.com/CJPBoston) or Twitter (@CJPBoston).