Dear Grandparenting: Now I’ve gone and done it. How could I be that stupid? My granddaughter Julie had her seventh birthday a few weeks back. I mailed her a present like I always do for the grandkids.
Where I really screwed up was writing “to my FAVORITE grandchild” on her birthday card. I wrote it in big capital letters and even underlined it for emphasis.
Then I started getting the blowback. Julie put the card on Facebook for the world to see. I hadn’t figured on that. I know my other grandchildren saw it because Facebook is their thing like every other kid. Oops!
Truth be told, I suppose Julie is my favorite. Of course I lied and tried to make it clear that I love all my grandchildren equally. But now I feel guilty, like I failed them as a grandparent. We are not supposed to play favorites. How can I make amends? Cindy Ann Shaw, Seattle, Washington
Dear Cindy Ann: Parents and grandparents may rise up quickly to deny it, but humans are hard-wired for favorites. It may not be the case in every family — researchers say about 75 percent, while the other 25 percent try their best to remain impartial.
We all have preferences — for hotdogs or hamburgers, for spring or fall, for grandsons or granddaughters, for older or younger. That doesn’t mean grandparents don’t want to love their grandchildren equally. But human nature being what it is, some make a better fit than others.
So instead of berating yourself for this little slip, take action to erase the perception of favoritism and move on. Inform your grandchildren you embarked on a new birthday policy.
Since it happened to be her birthday, Julie was your favorite grandchild at that moment. And henceforth, every grandchild will be your favorite on his birthday, for one day only. That should help heal any bruised feelings.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
“Grandmom Ginny,” of San Diego, California, was amused watching as granddaughter Amelia, 5, held her arms out to mimic the position of the hands on a grandfather clock when it struck the hour.
Amelia told her grandmother she had been “pretending to be a granddaughter clock.”
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.