Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Grandparent Factor

I don't know when it happened but at some point my parents stopped being parents and became grandparents. And, for the record, it wasn’t as soon as the grandchildren arrived either.

I remember growing up with my parents and they didn’t act anything like they do now. To this day, I can remember standing in line at the grocery store and asking, “Mom. Can I have this candy bar?” To which my mother responded, “Do you have money for that candy bar?” Needless to say I didn’t get the candy bar.

My childhood was about chores, responsibility, and all sorts of crappy life lessons that usually involved me getting in trouble. That woman no longer exists. I don’t know where she went but she doesn’t come to visit my house!

Suddenly, the rules that I had as a child are too strict. As a parent, I’m suffocating them with all the chores I make them do. Grandma tells me, I’m smothering their creative growth. It eventually got to the point that I had to have the ‘talk’ with Grandma. I had to sit down with her and act like the parent. I had to tell Grandma that she couldn’t let the kids jump off the roof no matter how deep the snow bank was, dessert after dinner was fine but the kids still needed to at least each some carrots, and remind her of the rules that were in place when I was a child. Let me tell ya, it was a thrill a minute.

We ended up compromising to a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy for events as Grandma’s house. This doesn’t mean that I don’t catch the occasional glimpse of what occurs.

The other day, Grandma was watching the kids for the afternoon while wife and I went for a nice quiet lunch. When we returned to pick them up, I found boy on her kitchen floor playing with a fork. Yes, a fork.
Lee: Ummm, Mom, I don’t think Boy should be playing with a fork.
Grandma: Oh don’t worry. He’s fine.
Lee: Mom. It’s a fork. It’s not really a toy. He might hurt himself.
Grandma: You just pipe down. When you were little I used to let you play with the sharp knives and you still have all your fingers. Boy can certainly play with a fork if he wants.
Lee: What? What are you tal...
Grandma: Go on. Shoo! I need to finish making dinner.
And with that I was ushered out of the kitchen.


  1. Very true, of course I was easy going as a parent, maybe I will be strict when I get to being a grand parent.

  2. It's always easy to give the whatever they want when you don't have to live with them. I'm sure my dad would have been one of those grandparents, were he still alive, but my mom is nowhere near the doler of free $10 or $20 bills that my grandmother was when I was a kid. I guess it's her nature as an accountant that keeps her from that sort of thing.