Every Day Should be Grandparents Day

Illustration by debspoons, freedigitalphotos.net

Illustration by debspoons, freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes I can’t wait to be a Grandma.

Not that I don’t love this stage of my life-chaotic carpools, homework hassles and morning mayhem aside-because at ten our son is old enough to take almost anywhere and still young enough to want to be with his parents. But I know those days are dwindling fast. The specter of his teenage years casts a long shadow every time he gels his hair or rolls his eyes, which is happening more often every day.

Being a Grandma seems so marvelously simple. As Robert Brault said, “To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid.” What could be better? You spend time with the kids and you love them. There’s no way to do that wrong. There are no obligations to feel guilty about. No stretch marks, no late night phone calls to “pick me up” from sleepovers, no allowances, no dioramas, no lunches to pack and no laundry to do.

There are a lot fewer vegetables and a lot more dessert if you’re a grandparent.

A grandparent’s sole duty in life is to spoil their grandchildren-to hang on their every word, to bring them a new game or toy every time they see them, to tell them stories of all the rotten things mommy and daddy did when they were kids, to go on adventures, or take them swimming, to ball games or the movies.

Grandparents also make incredible audiences. When grandchildren learn to kick a ball, bust out some fancy dance moves, or jam on their first guitar piece, they can count on their grandparents to watch, listen and applaud-loudly and obnoxiously-every single time.

In turn, their grandchildren adore them. I still marvel at the way Koss’s eyes light up, he grins, mugs, chats up a storm and utterly turns on the charm whenever any of his grandparents are around.

Well, at least most of the time.

Lucky for all of us, his grandparents are around a lot. We’re lucky to all live in the same town. Really, really lucky. They’re great babysitters-which I probably, ahem, okay, absolutely definitely appreciate more than the kids-but they also make meals with him, which can get rather messy; come to watch him kick, run, jump and shoot, depending on which sports are in season; play video games with him; read books together, and take him to the library and the bookstore; and play lots and lots of card and board games. Heck, my dad even volunteered in his classroom and coached his flag football team.

I can relate to what Grandma (and great writer) Judith Viorst wrote in her contribution to the book “Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother.” “Even if we are known to be basically modest, even if, as mothers, we refrained from shamelessly bragging about our kids, we grandmothers feel entitled to inform the world that our grandchildren are not merely extraordinary but…the most extraordinary. And if another grandmother is one-upping us in the extraordinary contest, we one-up right back.”

I know just how she feels. My son’s grandparents are the absolute best, not merely extraordinary but the most extraordinary grandparents around. My son’s grandparents rock! They’re the best grandparents in the world. So in honor of National Grandparent’s Day (which is Sunday, September 13th), thanks guys. You really are the best.

Care to try to one-up Leslie in the extraordinary grandparent contest? Email Leslie@LeslieDinaberg.com. For more columns visit www.LeslieDinaberg.com.  Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on September 11, 2009.