A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grandma vs. Mama

Being a grandmother is an interesting experience. Before Jenni had kids, I always assumed I would enjoy being a grandma, but turns out I had no idea the depth of love you feel for your grandkids. That was a surprise. It's as deep and heartfelt as what you feel for your own kids, but different in so many ways.

One of which is in the area of discipline. Now, even though my own kids are perfect in every way, they did get into their share of trouble as young 'uns. And back then we were still allowed to give a kid a smack on the butt without CPS being called so they received several of those. When they would do something wrong and I had to discipline them, the tears often flowed. But I was immune. They still got their punishment.

With the grandkids, when they do something wrong, I often find it amusing. And, heaven forbid they tear up! When Eamon does something wrong and we ask him to stop, his face gets flushed, his lip quivers, and his eyes tear up. Plus he gets this really forlorn look on his face and all I want to do is hug him. Vika doesn't get quite so pathetic looking, but she has some big tears and it melts our hearts.

Last night was supposed to be an "overnighter" for Vika and Eamon. They had been wanting to spend the night for awhile, but our schedules didn't allow it until last night. Then Vika blew it. Jenni caught her hiding homework, in some cases throwing it away, and not telling the whole truth when asked about it. Very bad. So the decision was that we would cancel the overnighter and Ed and I would take Eamon out to dinner instead. With the understanding that if Vika got a report (or something, not sure of the details) done by Thursday, she could join us for dinner. And she did it! However, Friday morning Jenni found yet another homework assignment in the garbage pail in Vika's room. So she was told that she had to complete it at our house right after school or no dinner date.

I picked the kids up and we went to our favorite yogurt spot before heading home. While we ate our yogurt I reminded Vika about the homework. She looked at me with wide saucer eyes and said, "I accidentally left it at school!" Then she started tearing up. I told her we needed to call her mom to find out next steps. She said, "Can we call her after dinner?" I said no, because then I'd get in trouble too!! And I'm way too busy to be grounded.

When we got home we called Jenni. I gave Vika the phone and suddenly she started crying and said in a tiny voice, "OK." Jenni had told her that she would be picking her up in an hour and Eamon would go to dinner with us alone. Vika said to me, "I think that's too big a consequence for what I did!" (what 8-year old uses that word?!?). Then she asked me if I would do the same thing if I was her Mama. And I said yes I would because it wasn't just one incident, but a lot of them all put together and this was the last straw. She understood, but didn't like it. And those tears were so hard to watch. So I dried her eyes and painted her fingernails and then we played computer games until her mom arrived. Of course, I didn't know that she was also grounded from using a computer!

Maybe it's because we have more patience as grandparents than as parents. Maybe it's because we don't feel responsible for the way the grandkids turn out (we had enough pressure worrying about our own kids). Maybe it's because this feels like a second chance to not get so upset about things. Or maybe it's because we only have them around for short spurts and don't have to put up with these "episodes" on a day-to-day basis.

Yeah, that's probably it. But just wait until you're a grandparent. You'll totally understand.


Mellodee said...

Being the Grammy is the best job I ever had, bar none! Believe me, I know exactly whereof you speak!!

the thrifty ba said...

i wanted to cry for her! to miss out on a date with you and ed-the worse thing ever!
vika-do your homework and keep mom happy! dont miss a moment with your amazing grandma!