So here’s what happens, right?
Your first grandchild is born – or your second or fourth or 23rd – and all you want to do is gaze enraptured at that baby’s face. The world stops at your grandbaby’s door, you get off, and nothing matters as much as marveling at the miracle of that tiny human.
Grandmaternity leave is hard to come by, though. You’re not the one who just gave birth. You want to take as much as you can off the plates of Baby’s parents while keeping your own spinning.
Here are five ways today’s grandparents make it work in ways unimagined a generation or two ago:
1) Running shoes are great for rocking cradles, and jogging strollers make it possible for Grandma to take Baby out while training for her own 5 K.
2) Sending pictures to the family is no longer a matter of having film developed, photos printed and mailed. Today’s grandma has the baby in one arm while snapping, texting and tagging photos with the other. (Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg! Facebook is perfect for Boomers with grandkids.)
3) Need time off work? No problem. It goes with you. Grandma logs onto VPN with her laptop and joins conference calls at the office while Baby naps.
4) Meal-planning is a cinch when you inventory supplies and input ingredients into the digital app on your smartphone.
5) Reading stories to your grandchildren is one of the best ways to introduce them to a lifelong love of books. Nothing beats having that child in your lap, but long-distance grandparents can close the distance through weekly storytimes via Skype.
Everything has changed about grandparenting.
And absolutely nothing has.
- The wonder of rediscovering an experience lost in the past: the miracle of life freshly born.
- The feel of a tiny fist clutched around your little finger like a heart.
- The absolute certainty, swift and fierce, that you would die for this child.
Grandparenting is so awesome it should not be reserved only for those with children who have children. Find a young couple far from their families or a single parent who needs support. Come alongside them and offer to babysit, demonstrate a skill or share a story. Teach a Sunday School class or assist with a Scout troop.
Take what you know and press it into the life of a child before you take that knowledge out of time into eternity where it will no longer be needed.
not for everyone.