Grandparent Gratitude

Remember how you got shipped off to your grandparents when you were a kid? Maybe you were kind of excited but also not so sure about how fun it could really be. Because the toys were different, the food was different and the rules were very different. And maybe home with Mom and Dad wasn’t so bad after all. But, without any say in the matter, you went and trusted that these people had to be OK because they are kind of your parents, too. Then, as the days passed, and you bumped along in their musty sedan and stopped at their favorite donut shop and stared up at those crinkly, familiar faces, you found a new kind of love and routine and comfort. They became your home, too.

The time I spent with my grandparents was such a gift and, as much as I hated the mystery jello salad and ran into my mother’s arms, grateful to go home, after the weeks had passed — they wove themselves into my heart and my history.

My grandparents were parents at a different depth and breadth. They were my parents to the next degree. They stood one step above the pedestal my parents existed on and their opinion had a certain weight because, well, they were the boss of my parents. And THAT was cool.

Since I’ve gone back to work, my father has graciously offered to come down for a week at a time when I’ve needed help with childcare. We call that time “Camp Gramp” and I hand over the keys to my car, my pool pass, my two children and all of my trust. And off they go.

I know how lucky they are for grandparent time. Grandparents don’t always live right nearby. And sometimes they leave us far, far too early.

(I can’t help but think about all I need to catch my mother up on. I suspect she knows in some way but she is still missing so much. And it breaks my heart.)

So back to Camp Gramp. This Spring Break, they took Tampa by storm. They revisited the SS American Victory, spent an entire day at The Florida Aquarium, splashed their afternoons away at the pool, leapt waves the beach, spotted animals at the zoo, got haircuts, watched Harry Potter movies over and over and, well, snuggled a whole lot.

I keep thinking (hoping) that they are relearning the world a little differently from the way I have taught them during those short periods of time. And maybe they are learning to love my dad the way I do. I want my boys to KNOW him and get him. And build their own kind of relationship that is different to theirs and mine. I want theirs to be the kind that gets Skittles at the gas station but also knows how the sound my father’s voice can get if one of them pitches a fit at the zoo.

It makes me wish all of my family were closer. The other grandparents and all the various aunts and uncles they have scattered here and there. But that’s OK. Because when they DO see them, those relationships solidify a little more with every visit and those routines develop in a matter of days because kids LOVE routines and predictability and the constant of those people that are the boss of their parents and so so familiar.

I’ll take what I can get and cherish every second they get together and hope the memories are making themselves without me even really realizing it.

Thanks for Camp Gramp, Dad. I know how much work that was. But I love you and, even if they probably won’t ever love your New York Yankees, they sure do love you, too.


#1 Tresa kenkel on 04.09.12 at 7:06 pm

Loved this Caroline and it brought tears to my eyes. I have special grandparent memories and hope I can make some for a little guy myself!

#2 Diane Davis on 04.10.12 at 3:10 am

I echo Tresa’s thoughts above. Every time I pick a flower I remember Grandma,who taught me to pick the stems long,not just the flower. And Nana,who taught me how to tell a white pine from a red-3 needles for r-e-d, and 5 needles for w-h-i-t-e. I wish we lived closer,so we could contribute to more memories for Thomas and Charlie. Retirement is right around the corner,so the time is coming…

#3 Grace on 04.11.12 at 8:07 am

I remembered spending time with my grandparents, I believe in the saying that grandparents love their grandchildren much more as they have loved their kids because I really feel it. That is why for their retirement age, I am always at there side as much as possible.
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#4 Athena on 04.12.12 at 8:22 am

I am quite jealous for those who are keep living and have fun with their grand parents, my grand father past away last year but his loving memories will always be in my heart…
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#5 Margareth on 04.12.12 at 2:30 pm

What a lovely pictures, grand father is truly great who bring a kind of happiness… My grand parent is my strength to hold on when I’m was weak.. They are great and the one to be called for my whole life…
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#6 Sally on 04.12.12 at 4:10 pm

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#7 Scot207 on 04.13.12 at 2:47 am

What a lovely post, I really enjoy reading this one that in touch with my heart…
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#8 Rochelle on 04.15.12 at 6:46 pm

It’s a fun project for the kids, and it is guaranteed to make the grandparent in question cry tears of joy.
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#9 IlinaP on 04.16.12 at 8:50 am

What a lovely post and a lovely relationship for your boys and your dad. This kind of relationship is sorely lacking in our family, and it just kills me for my sons. They see their friends with such fantastic grandparent relationships and yearn for that themselves. It’s one thing I cannot control or make better for my boys. So happy for you guys to feel such joy!

#10 Allie Paterson on 04.16.12 at 7:55 pm

Oh! Heartfelt post! Let’s not forget that while we are growing up, they are also growing old. Lost my grandpa without telling him how much I love him. I still have my grandma so I’m making it all up with her.
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#11 Born27 on 04.19.12 at 12:17 am

It’s good to know you still make time to see their grandparents. It’s like their second parents. They always got the best story telling from them. I miss mine.
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#12 Heidi19 on 04.26.12 at 11:42 pm

I love this post and really enjoyed reading it. My grandpa is the sweetest guy i’ve ever known, and i pray that one day i can marry someone just like him. Thanks for sharing this and i’m looking forward to read more from you.
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#13 Jenny on 07.23.12 at 12:26 am

I miss my grandfather with both sides. I am closer to my grandfathers than on my grandmothers. Grandparents are really the one who spoiled their grandchildren and we love it :)

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