10. Taking care of those kids will wear you out! You think it’s because you are old now. It is actually because we have chosen to forget the chaos of mothering. They wear their mother out too, but she can’t “give them back” at the end of the day.
9. You need to be the one to initiate “together” time. They do not need gifts as much as they need your time. Be involved. If you do not, when they are teens and adults, they will not come around.
8. Be joyful, be happy, be encouraging. Your grandkids need that….if you are lighthearted, they will crave your company.
7. Ask meaningful questions. Don’t ask their age and school grade; you should know those answers. Those are the questions that strangers ask. And yes, they are getting taller and bigger, but don’t talk about that …again. Do you know their favorite color? food? movie? Do they have hobbies? Get to KNOW them. Really really know them. Even long-distance Grammas — in this day and age — can know their grandkids really well.
6. Your daughter/son can criticize them, but you cannot. This is a good lesson to learn early.
5. You had your chance to raise your kids. Now is the time to be quiet and let your daughter/son find their way. Don’t judge. Don’t advise unless asked. Your turn is over.
4. They WILL make the house messy. It’s ok. You know how to clean. Relax and enjoy the time together…. and sweep after they are gone. And don’t complain about the dirt while they are there. Remember #8
3. Read to them and tell them stories. They love stories. Tell them good stories, funny stories about their Mom/Dad. Tell them stories about you and your childhood. Pass along a heritage.
2. Teach them something. Leave a legacy. What do you do well? Teach them that.
1. The love you feel for those children will surprise you…. and overwhelm you. And because you do not bear the responsibility that their parents carry, you can love with abandon. Its your job. What a wonderful new career!