Being a Grandparent

July 22, 2016

When I was a young mother with children at home, I always heard how much fun it was to be a grandparent. You’ve heard it, I’m sure.  “As a grandparent you get to play with the little ones, then turn them back over to their parents and go home.”  That’s true. As a grandparent, when the parents are around, you don’t have to be the disciplinarian, or be the one to create and enforce the rules.   But what happens when the parents aren’t around?

This week we had the pleasure of having our 2 youngest grandchildren stay with us for 5 days. Owen is 2 years old, and Ella is 11 months old.  Did we follow their parents’ rules? Did we always do things the way that they would have?  Well, in truth, we pretty much did.  I am a firm believer in not undermining parents’ rules or authority. We did find ourselves adjusting in other ways though. We had to be more flexible and creative than we had to be when our children were young and we had all of their “things” and “needs” right there.  And some things that seemed so important years ago, just didn’t matter to me when taking care of these 2 sweet ones.

I’ve always liked a tidy house. Even when our children were little.  Now?  With these little ones here? It didn’t matter.  We moved all of the furniture in our family room to the edges of the room to allow more play space.  Toys were all over the floor, and even one of the blinds didn’t get pulled up straight in my morning haste. Did it matter to me this week? Not in the least.


I started feeding Ella some rice, before putting a bib on her to keep her dress clean.  I could wash the dress – and she was hungry!


For dinner one night we were having grilled shrimp and rice.  My husband was having some left-over spaghetti also.  Owen wanted the spaghetti, not the rice. That was fine. He also wanted some ketchup for his spaghetti.  I grabbed a fall tablecloth to protect my wood table – even though it’s July. It was just the first tablecloth on top of the stack.  And I grabbed an old plastic plate because it was clean and handy. It didn’t matter to him, he was hungry – and happy. I was too.


It has been really hot this week, so we played indoors a lot.  But Grandpa had promised Owen a ride on the golf cart, and so in 100-degree weather, they took off.  I tried to get a nice picture, but Owen was (1) telling me that he couldn’t smile because he was shy, (oh, yeah, right!), and (2) that I was in the way and they couldn’t leave, so would I PLEASE MOVE.


To combat the hot temperatures, we had to really improvise.  I dumped some things out of plastic tub, and Grandpa brought up the wheelbarrow. We put a tarp down to protect knees from concrete scratches… and spent 45 minutes having a ball in the water!




I taught Owen how to go into the pantry, shut the door, and then open it. It has a funny door handle, and I didn’t want him to accidentally go in there, playing, and then be afraid because he couldn’t get out. He thought it was great fun, and this occupied him for quite a while. In and out. In and out.


We stayed up just a tad later than usual, but that meant we also got up a little earlier than normal – so that was a fair trade in parental rules, I think.

They are gone now. The house has been put back together, and it’s a lot more quiet than it was than when they were here.  But we miss them.  We all miss them.





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  1. Hazel

    It’s nothing but joy, and you were very imaginative, lol – what difference, they really are a little young and normally it doesn’t take too much to catch their interest – and I am sure, even with the extras you provided, I am sure you and your husband enjoyed yourselves – enjoy them while you can

  2. Sheila Phillips

    Karen are you aware how much those sweet little grandchildren look like you? 🙂

    • Karen

      You really think so, Sheila? I will have to look more carefully. I only see our son in them. Although I do have to say, now that I think of it, I occasionally see me in some of Ella’s expressions. 🙂 What a lovely thought!

  3. Dels PSP EmporiumDeLoris

    You said it perfectly! When you are older, the things that mattered when you were younger, just don’t seem as important! Grandbabies grow sooo fast and we need to enjoy them while they are little. My Danny is 9 now and seems all grown up. I miss the “little one” age he use to be. Yes, Owen and Ella look like you. They are precious! I loved your story – how sweet it was to read and remember doing those things with Danny.

  4. Su Hall

    What a joy to have had your grandbabies with you for a spell! They are fun! I say, “If I had known grandchildren were so much fun, I would have had them first!” LOL
    What I found is that I want to just be with them. Like you, I toss ‘neatness’ out the window. I have plenty of time to clean after they are gone. My grandchildren love to come to grandma’s and I am sure yours do, too!
    What a blessing! I’m so happy for you!

  5. NancyP

    HAH HAH HAH!!! This reminded me so much of my daughter, Holly, and her FIVE grandchildren that she takes care of quite often. She was (and I use the word, WAS) also one that liked a neat clean home. Well, that has gone out the window with the kids—ages 10,8, 6, and 3 year old twins that are called “search” and “destroy”. She comes up with some of the most inventive ways of entertaining them. She loves those children with her very breath! Yes, its a totally different ballpark having grandchildren, but what a blessing!!!

  6. Peggy S

    I just got back from tending our grandchildren, older than yours. I enjoyed your story. I agree that I try to uphold parental rules, with a few small grandma flexibilities. I LOVE being a grandmother, and I enjoy the quiet when I get home. Best of both worlds.

  7. Pamela Robert

    We have two grandkids, ages 4 and 6 that we have been watching 2-3 days a week since they were little. It’s a little sad to see the baby years gone, but I do love to watch them growing and discovering so many new things. They still love to come to GramPapa’s house as much as they can. Enjoy them. As we all know, they grow up so fast.

  8. Sheryl Hardin

    What wonderfully creative Grandparents you are! I agree with you, being a Grandparent is the best job in the world!!

    • Karen

      Thanks, Sheryl, but NO one can hold a candle to you!!! Seriously!

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