Grandchildish Behavior

I’ve had two unexpected conversations recently that have given me pause for reflection. The first was with my father-in-law while dining over Mexican food in Kansas. While catching him up with our kids’ lives, he asked me if they were dating anyone of note. I told him that at the moment there were no significant others. Then, the bolt out of the blue,”Oh, you must be sad that you won’t be having grandchildren anytime soon.”

The next exchange was with my daughters, The Piglet and Decibel.

“All of our friends’ mothers are on crazy grandma patrol. How come you aren’t nagging us about having babies?”

It started out as gentle teasing, but… CONTINUE READING  >>

Grandchildish Behavior

I’ve had two unexpected conversations recently that have given me pause for reflection. The first was with my father-in-law while dining over Mexican food in Kansas. While catching him up with our kids’ lives, he asked me if they were dating anyone of note. I told him that at the moment there were no significant others. Then, the bolt out of the blue,

“Oh, you must be sad that you won’t be having grandchildren anytime soon.”

The next exchange was with my daughters, The Piglet and Decibel.

“All of our friends’ mothers are on crazy grandma patrol. How come you aren’t nagging us about having babies?”

It started out as gentle teasing, but during the course of the discourse I got the feeling that they might be getting miffed by my lack of interest. Even though I know – good AND well – that neither of the girls are even remotely at a procreating place in life. In fact, one of them finds the birthing process so totally repulsive that she wants to be “knocked out like the good old days” should the event ever occur.

The truth is, if I were to start pestering them the slightest bit about producing a grandchild, I know I’d be in for a tongue lashing that only a resident of New York City could deliver. I’m not about to unleash that hound.

But I hadn’t really pondered the subject before, except in the abstract, so just the asking of the question got me thinking.

If I were to have a grandbaby, I think I would be the best grandma ever. That child would be the most loved and cherished little one on the face of the earth. I think David would be even nuttier, he’s crazy about kids and kids love him right back. It would be a battle just to pry the tot off of his aching, horsey back.

BUT, if I never have grandkids, that’s all right, too. I’m not one of those passing-along-the-genes/carrying-on-the-family name kinda gals. There’s no inherent longing in my breast – I actually view that stuff as sort of archaic. Maybe this is a backlash from the incessant hints my mother-in-law dropped as soon as David and I got hitched.

In her defense, David is the fourth of five children, and was the first to marry – she had waited a LONG time by then. All of her girlfriends were winning the Grandma Game back in a time when that baby tally really meant something.

Baby begging doesn’t seem to be as much a part of our generation’s psyche, but grandma pride seems to have survived in full force. Facebook has opened my eyes to that. Once one of my friends becomes a grandparent, their profile becomes a never-ending barrage of baby pictures. They’re worse than the new mothers. I understand it though, I’ll probably be a photo posting maniac myself should the time ever come.

To be honest, one of the reasons for my lack of longing is unabashed selfishness. I like having my kids all to myself when we visit. No husbands, wives or diaper changes to disrupt my time with them. I feel I’m just getting to know them as adults, and I am loving the process. I don’t want to share.

Genetics may play into my thinking as well. My mother-in-law, as one might imagine, was wet-her-pants excited when I announced my first upcoming bundle of joy. But my side of the family reacted a bit differently. My mother was properly excited, but you would have thought I purposefully dropped an anvil on my dad. He was dismayed. He had to know that I was at an age where this type of thing could happen, he just couldn’t believe that HE was.

“I’m too young to be a Grandfather!”

Like my goal had been to put the final nail in the coffin of his fading youth. Grandfatherdom seemed to be a direct affront to the vernal image he had of himself.

As taken aback as I was at the time, I have to admit that I get it today. Personality is something I’ve inherited from my Dad and – honestly – the idea of me being a grandma stings a bit. (Note to self: try to hide this little selfish feeling when you get the “I’m pregnant!” phone call).

Finally, I have to wonder how influenced by outside factors I might be. In our society, we are past the point where we need to quickly pump out babies to help out on the farm, carry on the family name, or populate our religious faith and the Wild West. There are an awful lot of people on this little planet of ours and I have to say I’m glad we’re slowing down with the baby birthing bit.

My offspring should set their reproductive itinerary at their own pace. It is not something I need to stick my pointy nose into. The potential for disaster looms large if a person is nagged into breeding before they are prepared, whether by a parent, society or even a spouse. If one of our babies feels the time is right to reproduce, I’ll be right there with helpful hints on nausea, mood swings, vomit stain elimination and the like.

Until then, I’ll be glad to have them all to myself.

One last thing, a quick message to my kids – are you EVER going to have a baby?! Just kidding (I think).

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: You’ve heard my opinion, how do you feel?

60 thoughts on “Grandchildish Behavior”

  1. Veronica, I have such vivid memories of that time in our life…how I did love having our adult children to ourselves before grandchildren came along.

    A neighbor of ours commented that he didn’t mind being a grandpa but being married to a grandma made him feel old. When it was our turn to go down that path my husband felt the same way I am sure.

    Be well.

    Barbara

  2. As the grandparents of four,two now adults and two young ones, my husband and I agree with a bumper sticker we once saw which read “Grandchildren are your reward for not having killed you kids when they were teenagers”. Although we never pushed or even asked our children when or if they were going to become parents, we were delighted when it happened even though I was only 47 when the first one was born. We were ready to be grandparents!

  3. I am reading a humorous and insightful book, Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman. She has a website in case you want to look her up. She writes about French parenting and about the birth of her first child, her daughter, Bean. (You gotta read it.) Druckerman is an American married to an Englishman and they live in France. Your daughter might enjoy the peek into French culture and French child rearing practices. Only downside is she may want to move to France. Hmmm. Well, you and David like to travel. LOL.

  4. No grand kids here. Mine are 41 & 39. Dont expect any. If we had grandkids i would be broke, now we travel all over and are loving life just the way it is.

  5. I have grand kids all over the place some of whom I have never seen. The one son was and is a wild one. The other son moved far away and had babies when I was about 60 so I’ll be 80 when they are 20. Phew too old to take them to Disneyland and go on rides! Well maybe I am now come to think of it! lol online chat is wonderful however.

  6. I do enjoy how you address important life issues with humor and style. Yet another fun and witty read on life, love and the pursuit of, well… all things. 🙂

  7. Thank you for saying this! I’m coming up on 30 in a few weeks and have been married 5 years this summer. For those 5 years and before that, I’ve spent my time focusing on my career and just enjoying my time with my husband while it’s still the two of us. My dad is constantly asking us when we’re going to have kids. We’ll have them soon enough, but now is not the right time and he doesn’t seem to understand that (he actually told my husband once that it’s not always the right time, which we both strongly disagree with). My mom on the other hand will only ask me about it if I bring it up. At this point, she loves her grand-dog and is happy to have her come visit! My in-laws are in Europe, but with us moving to the UK next month, I have a feeling we may hear a bit more coming from that side soon enough…

  8. I like your attitude. I was not pushing my kids to have kids. However, my father passed away in July and my mother in December. My oldest and her husband “unexpectedly” got pregnant and our first grandson was born on September. The timing has been good for me. We are all enjoying seeing each other excited about this new baby ! Watching your child parent warms the heart.

  9. Our offspring are under enough pressure to work and buy houses and all that grown-up stuff without us leaning on them to have kids.

    Grandchildren are a joy – but not a right. So we need to fill our own lives with fun so our kids don’t feel any pressure from us to have kids just to keep mum and dad happy!

  10. I am 60 and my oldest daughter, 29, just got engaged. I only talk babies to her because she did first. My 25 year old twin daughters are no where near ready to have families. I do not feel any desperation or need on my part to have grandchildren. BUT, I know I will be thrilled when the right time comes for each of my girls. I look forward,then, to being an active and involved grandma. It will be a joy and pleasure. But I will never press them for my sake.

  11. Interesting comments….as I anxiously await the birth of our 11th grandchild due in a few weeks. At 60, I can’t imagine my life without anyone of them, even when my oldest daughter announced that she was expecting her 6th a few years ago. My husband and I have been empty nesters for years (after raising 4 children of our own) but the joy that arrives in our house (or motorhome) when their little faces pop through the door is immeasurable. I know that it is difficult to imagine that something is missing from your life or lives, but to each and any one of you, I hope that you are blessed with a sweet little grandbaby that covers you with kisses and calls you her “best friend”! There is no feeling like it!

  12. My grandmother was only 36 when I was born. I had my 2 kids in my 20’s. I thoughtlessly asked them to wait until I was 50 before making me a grandmother. After waiting several years beyond that I finally have one grandchild. At this point I wish they would hurry up and have several more!

  13. Turned 50 with 5 Grand children in tow and now the 6th has arrived.Blended family so hence the sudden rush into Grandparenthood. We love it & giggle every time people get us confused as the parents. We are more relaxed,less worrried about schedules,eating habits, behaviour and delight in spoiling them. We have a dedicated Kids bedroom & all the equipment & some toys.
    As we both still work full time our daughters dont have us on Tap.. but I do take time to take Gkids to baby gym, music or dance. We babysit as & when we can & for my biological daughter have had the babies sleep over since they were tiny. Nothing more divine than early morn cuddles & more funny than last time when 2 year old arrived naked clucthing her nappy & brothers pull ups – hes 4 at 6am ..Nana nana look I naked !!
    We are not quite empty nesters ..but should be by end of year. No pressure on the others to produce at all. We love the freedom to be Modern Grandparents, with an income,travel plans and the ability to say ..not this weekend ! but kisses to you all …byeeee

  14. When it’s your turn, you will be delighted no matter how old or young – it will be your turn to shine! There’s nothing like a sweet 3 year old calling me Nina (no grandma or ganny for me) and they call my husband “Super D”. He loves the name they gave him!

  15. Being in my 60s and having no grandchildren, I wished I would have nagged my children or at least suggested to them that they should consider having kids. Now ages 30, 35, and 38 and none is even married (one in a serious relationship)I honestly don’t think there’s a chance for grandchildren any time soon. Yes they are all awesome and successful adults. They are fun to be with and I love them very much. But there is still a part of me that feels sad every time I see others with their grandchildren pictures or I hear “Nana!”

  16. I want my kids to figure their way before they figure out how to fit their kids into it. My daughter is engaged to a very nice boy, who lives nearby with his parents. I want them to be self sufficient and figure out their path first – and kids or not are all up to them, because they will be the ones to raise them.

  17. Oddly enough, I just became a grandmother 3 days ago. Talk about irony. I completely understand your thoughts on this- our baby just turned 18 today and we have been looking forward to being empty nesters. But my 19 year old daughter and her boyfriend and their baby are living with us for a few months (my husband gave them a deadline of christmas) to save for their own place.

    I’m still looking forward to that empty nest, but I’m adoring my grandson. Getting to snuggle a newborn and still sleep through the night? Or leave the house whenever I want? Perfect. This Grandma gig sure beats the Mother gig! Luckily, my daughter is doing an awesome job with the mothering thing and doesn’t need a ton of help or supervision. If only her boyfriend would do as well with the “provider” gig…

    Nice to meet you. I’ll have to live vicariously through your blog for a few more months!

    Stacey

  18. LOL How ironic that I find this post just a little under two weeks after my second grandchild was born (a boy!) and a scant 10 days before my own 45th birthday! Personally, while I would have liked to have waited a few more years to be a grandmother, I know I’m going to have more energy to run after them now, rather than later! And being a grandparent is awesome! How else can you cuddle a newborn as much as you’d like, and then just hand it back when it’s crying or messy? : )

  19. I know what you mean about having them all to yourself when they visit—no boys tagging along or children. Our oldest (of our 4 daughters) does have a husband now and he’s a great guy! But I still like having my daughter visit alone. No offense to BestSonInLawEVER! And grandchildren? Not yet although we do tease her about it–mostly because her husband and his parents are ready and have been…our daughter is not. LOVE you blog!

  20. What a great blog. I find myself in exactly the same position at the moment having finally got rid of the offspring. Hubby and I are attempting to get as much out of our lives as we can. It doesn’t always go the way we planned.
    You can find out about our lives @ http://www.facing50withhumour.blogspot.com
    Good luck with your adventures….I’ll follow the via facebook and twitter

  21. I wasnt particulary nuts that my oldest had my first grandchild when I was 40 and still had a 3 year old,–but then she was “stolen” from us and I never saw her again until she was 17!!! But I did have the gift of two other grandkids during the last 20 years and have a relationship with them….and in my 50’s I think being a grandma is great!!!

  22. I too have had my wishful/wondering moments, I may ready, but IMO… Ain’t NONE of those 3 kids of mine are ready to have kids yet! heh at times, neither was I…

  23. Just enjoy your time for now. life goes by fast enough, when grandkids do come you won’t have time for your friends or yourself.

  24. Let them make the decision to become parents on their own and in their own time. No one should bring a child into the world until they are ready. But you CAN still issue the time-honored curse of, “I hope you have a kid just like YOU someday!” It works! (I know…)

  25. Oh My Goodness, I hope I nagg less than My Mom did/ does!!! HEHEHE. God Love her. Sometimes still at 55 I can’t seem to wash a dish correctly!

  26. Hi … love this post!
    I’m 45 and have three sons ages 17, 20 and 22 … and have NO desire to have grandkids anytime soon, not for at least 10 years or so. Plus, I want my boys to be more established in life than I was when I had them.
    It’s great to ‘meet’ you (and others) that aren’t nagging their kids about grandkids.

  27. Here, here Gypsy Nester! My kids are 24 and 27, and I’m embarrassed to say I dropped a “hint” in the company of the youngest and my own Mom about a month ago. I still get red in the face when I thing about my sudden outburst. I really don’t know what came over me! I thought I felt just as you–no nagging, no reminders about the biological ticking clock, no questions about when are you gonna find a guy and settle down?! My girls are busy making a world for themselves in spite of difficult times…this is the last thing I’d want to wish on them if they aren’t ready. Thanks for saying what I should be feeling!!

  28. I’m not surethe nagging about anythig is a generational thing ’cause I’ve known both types in my generation. However, I’m pretty sure my generation has a great handle on the “guilt trip”.:)

  29. Thanks so much for this post. I love the unselfish view you have towards this issue. Because, of course, it does come down to whether your kids truly want to become parents rather than all the other extemporaneous factors. Good on you for being so progressive (and if you want to have a chat with my folks – who I hope have given up on the success of their nagging by now, I’ll pass you their number 🙂

  30. I tried to email to you and found it got rejected.
    I love your idea and love your comment.

    Perhaps we can co-Promote. My audiences are empty nesters.

    May
    You can tweet me too. MaykyYue

  31. Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

    As the 23-year old female offspring of empty-nesters I don’t think I can fully express my gratitude for your point of view… I am unfortunately one of the ones being nagged to pro-create. Not a phone call goes by without grandbabies being mentioned (which always turns my stomach).

    I’m just not ready and I’m not going to rush into something that serious without being ready… I’m really enjoying my life now and don’t hear any biological clocks ticking.

    How refreshing to hear your point of view, your kids are very lucky to have you!

  32. Grandkids are nice, as long as they aren’t multiplying, at your expense, or in your home!!
    And as long as I get to play gramma, when I want to, not when their parents want me to!
    I’m the Gramma they look forward to seeing, because it isn’t that often, so I can always come bearing gifts!!

  33. Some of us NEVER nagged for grandchildren. I nag for them to STOP giving me grandchildren. I have 2 daughters. I have 10 grandchildren. You should see our family get-togethers. It’s a zoo (a friendly and loving zoo, but a zoo, nonetheless).
    So if you’re inclinced to nag your kids about grandkids–be careful what you wish for.

  34. At the end of May when 21 yr. old son announced that he was moving in with his girlfriend I promptly asked him – is she pregnant – when he said no I said good – {he is still in college} because neithor one is ready for the responsibility – when the time comes (after he graduates I hope) I will be there for them –

  35. Loved your post. Just last night, I happened to mention to my 20 year old son, that after 6 years back up north away from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico where I spent most of my adult life, that I hope he didn’t mind if I didn’t stick around to babysit the kids he might one day have. That I’d love ’em to death, but be on my way to the beach!

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