— Sam Levenson
For as long as people have been reproducing, grandparents have existed in all their warm, affectionate and pipe-tobacco-scented glory. But they don’t just exist — they are superstars in our children’s eyes, and we, like Sam Levenson said, are often the enemy.
I want in on this grandparent thing. They never have to discipline because grandchildren never misbehave in front of them. They get to do fun activities with their children’s adorable offspring and then drop them off at home for all the boring, unpleasant stuff like vaccinations and bedtime. They are respected. They get 10 percent off at most restaurants. Our kids consider them heroes. What’s not to like?
I have an idea of how I’d get started in becoming more like a grandparent.
I would bake more chocolate chip cookies. Everyone knows grandmas are always baking cookies and letting you lick the batter-covered spoon, whether or not it spoils your appetite. That’s part of what makes them great. So I’ll be doing that, regularly. My waistline might suffer, but achieving grandmother status is probably worth it.
I might start telling lots of embarrassing stories about myself. My mom does it all the time and it could be part of the reason my daughter is so obsessed with her. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy hearing about that time I wore a poodle skirt in my second-grade talent show? Besides me, of course. What about the time I dressed up as Amerigo Vespucci, the namesake of our country, and gave a presentation in three classes at school? Oh, the shame.
I’ve thought about taking up pipe smoking, since that’s so grandfatherish. I don’t know anyone who smokes a pipe who isn’t the father of at least two generations. Plus, I think I’d look pretty cool, but that’s probably just delusional.
I guess I’ll need to start carrying snacks in my purse since grandmothers always seem to have something handy to tide you over until dinner. As long as they have their handbag, they are prepared for any situation. Band-aids, snacks, toys, a book and Ibuprofen are never far away when Grandma’s purse is nearby.
I’ll even consider letting my daughter stay up past her bedtime. I’m pretty sure that’s what grandparents do, but it’s probably because of the large amount of desserts they are known to dish out after dinner. I’ve already got that covered with the chocolate chip cookies, so it should be easy.
It’s no mistake that we call them grandparents. They are the more patient, better prepared, and yes, all-around grander versions of parents. They are tireless, wise and they don’t sweat the small stuff.
I have a feeling that even if I bake cookies, tell embarrassing stories about myself, load my purse with emergency supplies and forget about bedtime, I’ll still fall short of grandparent status. It’s OK. I’ll get there one day — and let’s hope that day is far, far off in the distance because, to be honest, my chocolate chip cookies could use some work.
(Editor’s Note: Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife and college student, as well as being a syndicated columnist who is published in several Tennessee newspapers. She writes about the parts of parenthood you didn’t expect when you were expecting. Like her page at facebook.com/MotherInterrupted or visit the website at motherinterrupted.com.)