The joy of watching grandchildren grow into adults Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Grand Mom column by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

It’s common knowledge that grandparenthood is a well-earned reward for surviving parenthood.

You get all of the benefits of having an adorable child without the pain and responsibility. No pain of childbirth, no up-all-nights. No having to feed and clothe them.

Grandparenthood at age 40

I entered that lofty stage of grandparenthood at age 40. I remember rushing to the hospital nursery to see Jeff, my first-born grand, and announcing to the nurse, “I’m the baby’s grandmother.”

I was fully expecting her to look shocked, thinking, “Oh, no! You’re too young!” Instead, she asked in a bored tone, “Is this your first?”

So everybody talks about getting to have all of the fun when the grandkids are little. You get to dress them up, love them up, fill ’em up with sweets, and then let their parents “put up” with the consequences. It’s an implied “privilege” of being a grandparent.

If they lived in the area, I would celebrate their birthdays by taking them out to lunch and shopping for a toy of their choice.

I remember Hillary, at age five, falling in love with a “Dydee Doll” complete with bottle and diapers. She could feed her baby from a tiny bottle and then change her diaper when she wet. When her daddy came to retrieve Hillary from my car I laughingly told him, “Steve, you have another mouth to feed.”

Joys of adult grandchildren

I maintain, however, that the best years unfold as we watch our grands grow into responsible adults.

Seeing them through all of the important stages of their lives, the graduations, college and career choices, marriages, we realize that our grandchildren become even greater with the years. That’s when they bring us even more drama and love than we could have imagined.

Today only a few of my 18 grandchildren are nearby, but those who are far off in other states and foreign countries remain close to me through just a “click” on Facebook or by e-mail. And they still make me feel loved.

Just last night, for instance, that same “Dydee Doll” Hillary made a 90-mile round trip after work to bring me a surprise gift she had made for me. It was a beautiful scrapbook to stir up happy memories of our trip to Luxembourg last September. Having a strong granddaughter with nursing experience as a companion made it possible for me to travel to Europe even at 83.

Blessings upon blessings

Yes, my grandchildren are great, and to further heap on the jewels I also have great-grandchildren. Eleven so far and still counting.

The miracles of life keep happening and they keep the scale balanced. Every loss that aging brings, whether physical or emotional, is offset by the addition of another measure of joy from my offspring.

It’s such a good plan that it must have come from a loving God, don’t you think?


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