My daughter asks if my husband and I can babysit for her for a few hours while she and her husband participate in a class for parents who have behavioral issues with their toddlers.
In the past I would say;
“Why do you need a class, an outsider, to give you a piece of advice when here, in front of you stand two people who raised you and your three sisters with decent results.”
In the past, I would offer my opinion. As a savvy educator, and a parent I would give a detailed lecture on what will work and what will not; accompanied by true-life examples;
“Remember how your youngest sister used to cry all the time?”
“And how your older sister never went to bed without resisting it for hours?”
“And how your gramma, my mother, got me to stay in bed on Saturday mornings by leaving sweet surprises?” this one she remembers but nods her head in disagreement.
Wiser with the years I know better. I just smile and say, “Sure, no problem, whatever you need.”
From the corner of my eye, I can see how my husband looks at me and winks. We finally got it, he says without words. If we want to stay part of our grandchildren lives it will not be in the role of a sage, but that of the sitter.
The readers may raise an eyebrow with surprise or perhaps disagreement. Grandparenthood so I learned on the know-it-all net is nothing but a bundle of joy. It is life fulfilling, it’s a unique, sweet connection, it is everything we were not as parents. In other words, it is a second chance to do it ‘right,’ now that we are older and wiser and have a lot of free time.
When I reflect on my frequent conversations with my friends most of whom grandparents themselves, I realize that here again, I am witnessing a marketing ploy of a product that is not real, a bit like the golden haze around the final stage of life – the golden years of our retirement.
I have no qualms about my years as a full-time parent. In fact, I am still a parent only now my children are adults who are themselves, parents. They matured into ‘know it all’ contemporary, Facebook-style parents. This change makes me almost overnight – a relic.
It took me some time to understand that what I once considered true and trusted ways of parenthood are looked upon as old and useless, even though the proof of their success is standing right in front of me holding their own children.
Ariela Zucker was born in Israel. She and her husband left sixteen years ago and now reside in Ellsworth Maine where they run a Mom and Pop motel. This post originally appeared on her blog at Paper Dragon.