Let Me Tell You about My Grandchild (Or Not)

Is this the New Divide?

Haves and the Haves Nots.

the Latest TipToe Around Subject.

We have our first grandchild – you don’t. So let’s NOT talk about it?

It doesn’t seem so long ago that my group of female friends were thinking about getting pregnant. One by one, in our late 20’s or 30’s, most of us, but not all, decided to have children and created families. Years pass, our kids (finally) grow up and we start the wait from the silent (bite your lip hard) parental sidelines hoping that the life cycle repeats itself.

I am one of the lucky ones. Our daughter got married and less than three years later became a Mom. My husband and I were delighted with the unexpected (to us) news, thrilled to become among the first of our friends to achieve Grandparent-hood status.

Thrilled yes but with a tinge of guilt because just like years ago when some friends of ours got pregnant with ease while others had a much harder time – it turns out that new Grandparent-hood can be a sensitive subject.

This caught me off guard. I (naively?)  assumed that all of my friends would eagerly want to see every new photo and video of our adorable, brilliant and talented grandson a/k/a He Who Can Do No Wrong. And that they would rush to our house to meet him and get an in-close view of his toddler antics whenever he visits. Unbelievably, this has not happened.

I mean, is that right? Grandparent-hood is a VERY well deserved reward for all of the fun and games that your kids tortured you with during their growing up years.  Finally – a product of parenthood that emerges as all pleasure – your first grandchild.

And you are forced to keep most of the joy to yourself? It doesn’t seem fair.

Then I remember how before I got pregnant, some of my slightly older, new Mom friends would say things like “I can’t tell you how it really is” and “you have to experience it for yourself.”

Which I did. But my days of being a new Mom are now a blur. Much of the time I was too sleep deprived, too stressed by the tug of work v.s. family obligations to take delight in our growing babies. When I look back at early photos, my kids do look happy but I don’t see joy on my face, only exhaustion.  I  was too focused on the mechanics of raising kids – when’s the next nap, the next meal, bedtime, does she need a bath, that incessant need to get through and accomplish each task.

Exactly why being a new grandparent is so amazing. You’re not tired anymore! And you don’t internalize your grandchild’s daily needs as you did when you were a new Mom. Instead you get to live in the moment and actually enjoy it while it is happening.

Changing tiny diapers now seems like a privilege rather than a chore. Getting our grandson up from a nap is something to anticipate, not dread. When he holds out his arms to me, I beam.

I want to grab all of my friends by their arms and exclaim about being a new Grandmother –   “I can’t tell you how wonderful it really is” and “you have to experience it for yourself.”

But I can’t and I won’t. I don’t want to rub it in – in case it doesn’t happen for them. Which I hope it will. Because once they have hundreds of new grandchild photos and videos that they want to share, I promise to look at all of them. Or at least at some of them. If they look at mine, that is. Fair is fair, right?


Filed under 1st Grandchild, Adult Kids, Aging, Baby Boomers, daughters, Empty Nest, Family, Female Friends, Midlife, Moms, Parenting, Raising Kids, Relationships, Women, Working Moms

7 responses to “Let Me Tell You about My Grandchild (Or Not)

  1. Fair is fair is right. Show me yours and I will show you mine works.

    It is a sensitive issue, you are right. I kidding said to a friend about her son and wife in their late 30’s something to the effect that they think it is all about them when she is fit and healthy now and ready to be a Grandmother. She did not think my flippant remark was funny and I did feel just awful after I took my foot out of my mouth realizing that her only child may not be able to make her a Grandmother.


  2. This was so sweet: “Changing tiny diapers now seems like a privilege rather than a chore. Getting our grandson up from a nap is something to anticipate, not dread. When he holds out his arms to me, I beam.” Because, in my stage, there is still that dread sometimes . . . I feel badly saying it, but it’s true. Also, I totally get how who is a grandparent and who isn’t can be a sensitive issue, especially as the number of people in the crew who are NOT starts to decrease.


  3. Ellen

    Yes heres a thought. My Son has severe mental illness,age 29 and my daughter ,age 26 may not have children because her genetics are so full o
    M.I. On both sides of her family. and she has seen what devastation it can bring. her father and his mother and her cousin also have MI issues.
    I am okay without grandchildren but I feel for my daughter as she loves children and I know would love a family someday.and to add to it, there is a fear of raising a child,even if hes adopted, when your sibling and first cousin became sick in adolescence.
    This being said, if I never have my own grandchild I will always enjoy my close friends grandbabies. When I am not fully responsible for the baby, it will always be fun for me, as I was a single mom i was so loaded down with financial concerns.
    I guess what I dont care for is when people say” Oh you’ll have grandchildren eventually ,you have two kids” when they dont know our situation.
    Maybe I wont and Id rather not discuss it.


  4. Ellen

    Oh and thank you so much for this forum. I dont have many people I can express these thoughts to, that will understand my point of view, the way you all might.


  5. T39

    Ellen, I agree with your dislike for the “assurance” that someday you will also have grandchildren. I have three children and I am already older and know that it might not be in my cards, but I too do not see any point in discussing it.
    I also agree that Nancy’s blogs really touch my heart in a way I can relate.


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