I was talking with my oldest son over the weekend about grandparents. I told him he was very lucky to have 4 grandparents and 2 great grandparents in his life.
Both of my grandfathers died when I was very little. My memories of them are very few; sometimes I'm not even sure if it is the photographs of them that I remember, or actual events or stories my parents have shared with me about them. I can't help but think I may have missed out some great "grandfather" type adventures, experiences, life lessons, etc. if I had only known them longer.
I was lucky enough to have my great grandparents until I was about 12, one sweet little old grandma who would sing me songs in Welsh and watch my dance routines over and over. One funny old grandpa who had suffered a stroke and who couldn't talk but could still get his point across with laughter. I love the stories my grandma and her sisters and brothers tell of coming to America, the hardscrabble childhood of living through the depression, the way their mother could stretch a little amount of food to feed 10 people. Life was hard but there was (and still is) a lot of love in that family.
But, until you see your own parents interacting with your children, you don't really appreciate the whole grandparent thing. I mean from the kid perspective they are always great, especially if they are the type to have you over for sleepovers, buy your favorite candy for you, bake you homemade donuts, let you stay in your pajamas all day, or slip money in your pocket when you kiss them goodbye - all of things my grandmothers did. But not necessarily things mom or dad allowed. Isn't that the fun part? "You never let me do that when I was a kid!?!"
It is great to have that extended circle of people who love your children as you do (they will say "more than" we do). People that teach your kids the same exact stuff you try to, only from a different perspective and usually with a kinder, gentler approach: how to catch and clean fish, about what it means to be "team Osto", how to make a paperdoll, throw a football, play poker, dress up like a pirate, bake cookies, drive a boat, properly manicure one's nails, sit quietly in church or dive in a pool the right way.
People who take them for the night or weekend or week and let me remember what it was like before the "little people invasion" began. Thanks!