The love a grandparent can have for a grandchild is an amazing thing to experience, and now I am privileged enough to witness this emotion through my own son and his grandparents. Thinking back to my childhood, happy memories are all I have of my grandparents, and I was lucky enough to know all four into my adult life. There was never any telling off, or getting into trouble, quite frankly, I could do no wrong! Wonderful for me, but probably not so great for my parents, who no doubt struggled to discipline me without getting into to trouble themselves. I do remember enjoying it when this happened, so mum and dad, if you’re reading this then I’m sorry, but it was all because of the love of a grandparent.
It’s a truly heart warming feeling to see how much a grandparent can want to do the simplest of tasks for your child, and how much joy it brings them. Whenever my mum is over, she loves to go and get Virràe when he has woken from a nap. She is usually watching the monitor as if it were the latest bollywood film, and as soon as he starts to stir she’s up those stairs faster than lightening. Its a wonder she never trips over the numerous pile of things that live on my staircase waiting to be taken up! I watch on the monitor as she enters the room, I can even hear her smile as he Virràe recognises her face and gurgles away in delight. (Probably pleased he isn’t greeted by my ugly mug for once!) Not even a mountain would prevent her from getting to him, and this can only be the love of a grandparent.
When Virràe was born, I’m quite sure my dad was afraid. For once in his life he didn’t know what to do. He was a little awkward holding him and the moment even the smallest cry emerged from Virràe’s mouth, I could see my dad looking around for someone to rescue him. As Virràe has grown older, my dad has become more confident with him, and way more protective! If I tell Virràe off, I get told off. If I take my phone away, my dad will get his out. If Virràe is having a brat attack at dinner time and refusing to eat, my dad will be nagging in my ear telling me to let him out of his highchair. If Virràe yawns at 5pm, my dad will tell me I’m mean for not putting him to bed because he’s clearly tired. I try to explain to my dad that it’s too early, but he just rolls his eyes and huffs as if I’m the devil in disguise. If Virràe is furniture walking and looking a bit wobbly, my dad will run to hold his back. I tell my dad that he’s very controlled and not to worry, but he usually tuts and starts getting all Victor Meldrew on me (again!) I’m quite sure if my dad had his way, his grandson would be covered in bubble wrap and never leave the house! Only the love of a grandparent.
We visit my in-laws a few times week, and when it’s time to go home, I battle to get Virràe ready. I say battle because for anyone looking on, it must look like a wrestling match. Virràe locked between my legs, thrashing his little body around while I try desperately to get his nappy changed and pyjamas on. I consider this a massive work out and now understand why many mums don’t need to go to the gym. Anyway, when Virràe was younger and still in his first car seat, I’d put him in (crying of course), and my father in law always hated to hear him cry. I used to say, sounding child like myself, “but daddddd, there’s nothing wrong with him, don’t worry!” And he would say “Beta, I just hate to hear him cry.” The minute he heard the belt lock into place, my father in law would take the car seat and swing it back and forth. Virràe’s cries gradually turned into whimpers before eventually stopping, and I could see relief shine from my father in laws face like a rainbow after the rain. The love of a grandparent can tolerate not even a single tear, even if the that single tear is fake! My father in law would take the seat and proudly take it to the car for me, that was his job and he never tired of it, even if it did put his back out! Only the love of only a grandparent.
Every one of us has a real smile, the one that radiates from us when our endorphin levels are sky high and we couldn’t conceal our happiness even if we tried. A few short days after my son was born, his great grandfather passed away. It was such a bittersweet time for my mother in law, on one hand losing her father, and on the other her first grandchild being born. She didn’t get to see Virràe much in those first couple of weeks, but after the funeral had finished, she came to stay with me for a few days. When she arrived after what can only have been a truly emotional time, and saw her grandson, her face lit up, the bags under her eyes faded and her real smile beamed across her face. I’d just fed Virràe, so she sat on the sofa and I lay him on her chest, I remember so vividly that he was curdled up like a little ball, his tiny bum in the air and his head gently resting on her shoulder. I dimmed the lights and crept away letting them have their time. In that moment, no one could have brought more comfort than her grandson. She put her sadness and grief in a box, and for her grandson, put the lid on it. Only the love of a grandparent.
Regardless of the type of relationship you have with your parents, and regardless of the type of parents they are to you, the love and affection they have for our children as grandparents is simply magical. Nurturing this relationship is like taking care of a plant, make sure it has plenty of sunlight, water it regularly and then sit back and watch it bloom.