Grandparenting: One of Life’s Greatest Treasures

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I like to tell people my age that don’t have grandchildren, that hearing about the joys of grandchildren is like hearing about the wonders of Yosemite: no matter how many superlatives you hear, it can’t compare to the wonder of experiencing being a grandparent for yourself. The reality is guaranteed to be more wonderful than the anticipation.

I know I’m not the first besotted grandparent to take up pen or word processor and gush about how wonderful it is and why. But since there can’t be too much love in the world, and love is the essence of what makes this relationship so special, why not indulge me and join in for one more excursion into this wonderful place?

Here are five reasons I’ve found this stage of life to be a blessing unlike any other I’ve enjoyed:

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1. Pure love.

I loved my children, as much as I can remember what is now a 25-year haze from long ago. But I don’t remember feeling anything so unadulterated then as I do now for their kids. I remember also feeling responsibility, worry, , fatigue, and a whole lot of other stuff mixed in with the love. With grandchildren, it is like drinking a distilled draught of Mother Nature’s greatest elixir.

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2. Double your giving.

You know those matching grants during fundraisers, where some generous donor offers to match your donation to the same cause? You get that with grandchildren, because in everything you do for them you are helping your children as well. Every bit of love you pour into your grandchildren your children feel too. Whatever leftovers your children may have toward you from their can be cleaned up during this period when you love and care for their children, when you give them a break from childcare, when they see how what is precious to them is precious to you too.

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3. The Fountain of Youth.

Let’s face it: life doesn’t have the same charge in our later years as it once did. We can feel irrelevant, invisible, or passed by. But being directly in the mix of a new generation changes all of that. Their chaos, noise, , play, spontaneity, and pure goodness, as exhausting as it is, is renewing and uplifting. You can’t buy this high, this connection with life, in any fancy vacation, new car, or special experience.

4. An affirmation of what is true and good in life.

As we get older and the vanities of the world start to drop away one by one, it is wonderful to connect to children and what is important and good in their world. It is a validation: as we discarnate and they incarnate, grandparent and grandchild meet at the same place, with one foot in each world. While they are entering the world and we are leaving it, we all know that nothing is as serious or important as the middle-aged adults believe it to be, that what matters is love, connection, and relationship, not fame and fortune.

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5. Being the provider of unconditional love.

While parents may love their children unconditionally, their day-to-day reality doesn’t let that truth be the primary experience for the child. Parents have to make their children clean up after themselves, learn social skills, and not pick on their younger . With a grandparent, however, the grandchild can have that oh-so-important experience: they can do no wrong, nothing they say or do will make their grandparent upset with them or withhold their love because everything they say and do truly is wonderful, special, and unique.

I love to hear from adults who had special relationships with their grandparents when they were children, and how important and formative it was to them growing up. It is my hope my grandchildren will remember this about me too; I hope I will be that important to them in their development. The grandchild-grandparent bond may be one of the most important and beautiful relationships humanity has to offer.

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