Dear Grandparenting: I need to vent, and I elected you to be on the receiving end. In a word, this “grandparenting” thing is overrated.
I don’t dislike small children as a rule. But I also make exceptions when deserved, and I’m pretty sure my grandchildren qualify — in spades.
I consider myself fortunate to live far enough away (a good four-hour drive) that it takes some work to visit. I actually prefer to visit them so I can split when I get the need.
I don’t know what got into my son. He’s not rich, and here he is at the tender age of 28 with three small children and a wife to support, plus the mortgage and all the rest.
He is the dead tired one and his missus is a carefree watercolor artist with her own little studio out back. Left to their own devices way too much, my grandkids are noisy, inconsiderate and demanding, an unholy trio of untamed little creatures.
I’ve taken to calling them The Ankle Biters, unless I’m around family. But I do take heart from what my own father used to remark, to the effect that childhood is an illness most of us outgrow.
I know I’m running against the wind here. You could tar and feather me, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Artie, Marshall, Michigan
Dear Artie: We plead guilty to applying a positive spin to grandparenting, and why not? In our experience, the joy and jubilation about grandchildren is shared the world over.
Universal yes, but hardly unanimous, and your sentiments surely resonate with readers who endure the bedlam of childhood and adolescence, anticipating the reward of a more mature grandchild capable of conducting intelligent conversation.
Boundaries and limits, key components of modern childcare, benefit young and old. Young grandchildren need to learn who’s the boss (not them!), while adults need their space and creature comforts.
Truth be told, we suspect the majority of grandparents prefer visits or the occasional overnight to more intensive dealings with younger grandchildren. Love them as they may, grandchildren stay in motion to very different rhythms.
Grand remark of the week
Bea Miller, of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, reports she “really get(s) along” with her two granddaughters, ages five and seven.
“I remind them that I’m a little girl at heart just like them, except I’m an antique so they have to handle me with care.”
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.