Dear Grandparenting: Mine is a tale of two grandmothers. One is what I call wealthy, and I am trying to hold on to what I’ve got left.
Christmas is coming. When I dropped by last year to drop off my grandchildren’s presents, her gifts were already stacked around the Christmas tree. It looked like something out of a gift catalogue. Each grandchild had a separate pile. When I say stacked, I mean presents galore, with everything was wrapped in bright ribbons and bows. She is probably a nice enough lady. She lives in New York. We met twice at my daughter’s place. Since she rarely sees her grandchildren she tries to buy them. That’s what I really think in my heart.
I see my grandchildren all the time and give them what I can. They get my love and energy, but don’t get that much in the way of Christmas goodies. See my problem? How do I compete? Cynthia Jones, Long Beach, California
Dear Cynthia: Spoiling the grandchildren is a time-tested grandparent prerogative, one that your New York counterpart has down pat. But to our way of thinking, the best presents often have nothing to do with money.
It’s been said that today’s grandchildren worship the material world. But only up to a point, because once material needs are satisfied, ensuing gifts begin to lose their impact, no matter how much they cost.
What endures is the warmth and human touch — those personal gifts of love and attention that grandparents like you provide.
There’s another big problem with relationships based on material gifting. Since a decrease in the value of the gift signals a decline in the relationship, your wealthy counterpart seems trapped in a situation where she has to ante up more every holiday, with less to show for it. Seems to us it’s more likely that she is the one competing with you.
Grand remark of the week
Sandy Johnson from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania weighed in with this observation:
“Blessed are those who snuggle and hug, who spoil and pamper, who boast and brag, for they shall be called grandparents.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.