Sunday, May 08, 2011

Confessions of a Reluctant Grandma

Homemade butterflies


Some people are born to grandparenting. I am sure that my  mother would have been great at it,  had she lived that long - she was clucky for ten years before I even thought of having children -and my son -in -law's parents must come close, but I am not one of them.
OK I try to be available for emergencies, new babies and the occasional mad outing, but I struggle constantly with myself. Don't get me wrong - the girls - all three of them -are lovely, but it's not a role that I would chose for myself. For a start it's not something you have control over. Like greatness, it is just sort of thrust upon you.

All of a sudden you are expected be all -wise, all -knowing, ever -patient, mature, responsible, selfless and sexless, while at the same time never criticising or interferring. I am done with that. A few nappy changes and sleepless nights, fractured mealtimes, day care and school schedules and I am reduced to a gibbering wreck.  I have nightmares about the four years without sleep I had with my own children and my brain exits left. I can't remember what it was that I actually wanted to do or where the intervening twenty plus years went.

Nothing makes you feel more redundant than being asked to move over by the next generation. This must be how heirs to the throne feel when another royal sibling comes along who has precedence.Your needs, your desires, indeed your relevance dwindles away to nothingness. It is even worse in some other countries. In Russia for instance, the Bubushkas, or grandmothers are so revered, that no one comes near them. There I was having a romantic encounter with a young Russian lawyer, when I stupidly mentioned my cute granddaughters. The poor chap ran a mile, all thoughts of vodka fueled passion forgotten. Thereafter I was  treated with utmost deference and awe. It was terrible. It's really hard trying to act like a cougar when everyone treats you like the Virgin Mary.
I have a secret plan to change all that - I was after all the first female "Counterboy" in the insurance industry many lifetimes ago and look what is happening with Yummy Mummies.

Meanwhile, though I do miss adult conversation and the odd glass of wine, there are compensations. There is is the warm fuzzy smell of the new baby and the laughter and immediacy of young children doesn't leave much time for working yourself into a tizz about the past or the future.  Since I didn't get much of a chance to play with my own children - just staying alive seemed to take up all our time - it is also rather fun making fairy gardens, having mock royal weddings  and being a princess all day.  I am pleased to see that my paper windmill technique has improved immeasurably since the last time I tried it
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There are fairies at the bottom of our garden.
If you Double Click on this you might see one

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