I was a typical suburban homemaker with part time jobs here and there when my children got older, but basically was a Stay-at-home Mom. I was dedicated to being that and loved every minute of raising my children. Now that I'm a grandmother, and have been for the past 10 years, I love it, too. And, that's exactly what I want to be--a grandmother--and not a mother all over again. So, from the onset in what I hope was a gentle way I gave the indication that I did not want to be constant daycare for my children's children. And, they've always honored that. Not that I don't gladly pitch in to take care of them now and then because I do, and on that basis I look forward to those times. But for me, in general, I like to be able to choose when I'm going to spend time with them, because there's nothing like being able to give my all to them when I'm with my grands and then go home and take a nap afterward!
I think I'm probably the one person who has introduced nature to all four of my grands. We take long walks on beaches and wooded paths. There's nothing like those settings to relax them and let their minds wander. They come out with the most fabulously funny, and often clever, gems that way. Watching them explore the world around them, listening to the often brilliant deductions they make, and simply hearing their stories is all priceless to me. Such days always include a stop for lunch or ice cream, too, of course.
On Saturday evenings one of my absolutely wonderful DILs instituted "Family Movie Night". I get to sit on the smaller sofa flanked by a grandchild on each side and their King Cavalier sprawled across my lap watching children's movies and eating popcorn. Bliss!
All four of my grands know that grandma is an artist, so they love doing art projects with my materials when they come over. Overnights, when Mom and Dad have something special to do, are always fun and packed with all of the above. DH takes the older ones to museums and airshows by himself in his sports car which seems to be a big thrill to them.
What I think is most important in being a grandparent, along with it's general blessings, is to try to set aside time alone with each grandchild separately as often as possible doing something fun with them. You're then able to give them your undistracted and full attention which makes them feel very special.
I also try to attend their baseball games, ballet classes, and any kind of play or ceremony they're in. I think it must feel mighty good for any child to not only have Mom and Dad in their corner cheering them on through life but to also have the love and support of these other special people, their grandparents. Who wouldn't love a personal cheering section composed of people who adore your every move?!!
There's nothing like seeing their faces light up and hearing, " Yea! Grandma's (and/or Grandpa's) here!" when you drive up?!!" Our little ones are often waiting out on the front lawn for us with any gear they have with them when they know they're having a "special day" with grandma or grandpa. They know they're going to be king and queen for the day and they eat it up.
Lastly, you asked what kind of grandparents did we have. I had what I'll term emotionally detached grandparents on one side. Even though that grandmother lived with us for 4 years after my grandfather died, and she wasn't unkind by any means, I don't remember her very well and thoughts of her don't conjure up any "warm fuzzies" for me. On the other side, however, I had two warm and loving grandparents who played with me, gave me their attention, seemed to love babysitting for me when my parents went out for the night, and spoiled me with a gift now and then for no reason. They made me feel loved and cherished and even though that grandmother died when I was 6 I remember her very well and with lots of warm fuzzies
. I think all four of my grandparents, in their own way, greatly influenced what kind of grandparent I am.
And, I'd like to say, "God Bless both of my daughter-in laws". We've been blessed with two very wonderful ones who are devoted mothers and they both encourage our relationship with our grandchildren in so many ways.