Being a parent was great, but being a grandparent is a lot easier. Read on as columnist Adair Lara reveals ten reasons to be glad you’re the grandparent now, because kids are even better the second time around.
1. No parenting groups.
And no bake sales, and no birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Instead of trips to the dentist, we take trips to the beach and throw sticks to the dog.
2. No math homework.
No new math, no "new" new math, no arithmetic at all. I remember my own Patrick at 9 years old with his head buried in his arms one night. He had to figure out the distance between Yosemite and Yellowstone parks. He showed me the problem. "Oh, I see," I said. But then there was a silence, and it was clear to us both that I didn’t see anything. "Why would anybody want to go straight to Yellowstone after Yosemite anyway?" I asked lamely. By 9pm the two of us were staring at each other with the sadness of those who have realized they’re related to idiots.
3. No stretch marks.
Well, no more stretch marks....
4. No making lunches.
Many schools now require you to send lunch in little reusable plastic containers, millions of which will overflow your sinks, cupboards, and car backseats, if my daughter’s home is anything to go by. Plus you can’t send kids to school with peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches anymore, which eliminates 98 percent of the lunches my own mother made, or supervised the making of.
My daughter’s lengthy adolescence routinely found me standing in the breeze blowing in from windows she’d just escaped out of, although she was already grounded. Now she has two little girls of her own, one of whom will be 13 after a mere half-dozen years flit by.
Which means there is a God.
Once, my then 2-year-old granddaughter Ryan ran off down the sidewalk, with my daughter in sweaty pursuit, and I watched with pure pleasure. "Awful when they just take off like that," I said, stifling a grin, when they came back.
6. The shopping.
You can buy all the noisy, irritating toys the kids love, not just Speak-and-Spells. I personally will not have a toy in the house that is in any way designed to "improve" my adorably imperfect granddaughters.
7. Grandparent is not a job.
There are no fixed hours, no annual reviews, no clock to punch, no stress. You are a valued volunteer, one whose very presence conveys the message that this is work you would (and in fact do) provide for free.
8. They go home.
They don’t wake you at 3am, soaking wet, beaming, and wanting to play.
9. You’re off the hook.
You aren’t blamed if the kid doesn’t turn out well. Nobody ever lands on a therapist’s couch in grizzled adulthood and says, "My grandmother did this to me..."
10. The love.
As novelist Eva Figes, an English grandmother, has said, the difference between being a mother and being a grandmother is the difference between marriage and a love affair.
What do you love about being a grandparent?