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Why I Love Grandparents

May 7, 2012

And yes, I made that tie
It’s 6.30AM and I am sipping coffee, listening to birds chatter, and clicking on fun links about summer sandals and sinkholes (the latter fascinate me.) Yes, I can hear my kids rustling upstairs. But this morning, I don’t need to sprint upstairs to see how they’re doing. Grandma and Grandpa came to visit from New York to see my girls’ dramatic performance of 101 Dalmatians, and I couldn’t be happier.

A visit from grandparents is the best. Built-in daycare, giggles galore, complete spoiling. My kids are so thrilled to see them. My 4 year old even offered her spare duckie to them. Of course, they sweeten the pot by toting some gifts along that the girls anticipate. But I think it is their rapt attention to each child that is the main appeal. And Grandma isn’t also trying to clean the house, prepare dinner, sort mail or write a blog, so rarely loses her temper.

I have always known instinctively that my kids should spend time and build a strong relationship with their grandparents. In the first 2 years of my oldest daughter’s life, we made 14 trips by plane and car to visit grandparents, and great-grandparents, to begin this relationship. We have not yet experienced a moment when my children were shy or reticent with either set of grandparents. Even as babies, they both seemed comfortable in their arms. (Although, as my cousin recently reminded me, my second child was so big at 6 months that her great-grandmother could barely hold her).

My instinct may be more than just a notion. There is more and more research about the beneficial role grandparents play in a child’s life. Relationships with people from different generations appear to have positive effects on kids, including building empathy and self-esteem. And it makes sense that an extra person in a child’s life willing to give ‘unconditional love’ is a very good thing.

But I think I am the one enjoying their visit the most. After coffee, I’ll take a hike with a friend, do some work, and even step out this evening for a small gathering. All knowing that my kids are in good hands, happy as clams, and being loved.

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