By Guest Blogger Deanna Shoss
Okay, this is a blatant, gratuitous pitch for the book The Grandest Love: Inspiring the Grandparent-Grandchild Connection—but it’s not what you think….I’m talking about it being a great book for MOM. And not the grandma mom, but the mom mom…or in my case, me.
It’s timely to mention, seeing as Mother’s Day is coming up in just about a month. But this thing about grandparents lamenting and evolving their relationship with grandkids as they age is not just for grandparents.
Hey, I’m the parent!
I see my child getting older, towering over me (he’s now, at 15, 5’11” to my 5’3”). He’ll always be my baby, but he is growing up, and indeed I can see the empty nest on the horizon. Like many a busy mom I’m married and committed to a great relationship with my husband, I own my own business and am busy with clients, I teach aerobics, and, I’ve got three years left at home with an amazing son. How do I make the most of it?
That’s where I found Jerry’s book to be so helpful!
Here are three things that Jerry outlines in his book for grandparents to enter their grandchild’s world. Don’t tell, but I’m taking these for me!
Never say “how was your day” again.
Jerry advocates for never asking “how was your day,” suggesting that a “fine” or “grunt” is the most common answer. Check out the school website, or see what books he has lying around. Make Macbeth references—a cringe is even better than a grunt! Or ask—“oh, I had to read that year’s ago…what was the thing about the blood on the hands?” Even “did your teachers do anything weird today” might start an unexpected conversation.
Know that “I hate you” is developmentally appropriate.
I know, I wish they would never say it, but if you operate from what Jerry calls “mature love” you will know it’s not really about you. In fact, if anything, it means your child is so assured of your love and support that they can risk getting angry. Mature love says you know your child loves you, and something like “I hate you” probably means something else is going on. I might not go as far as Jerry’s example…bring the kid a bowl of ice cream and come back later, but I will not respond back with anything I would regret saying, and that I wouldn’t mean anyway.
Encourage the Grandparent-Grandchild Connection.
Sometimes as parents we too have had hard days or just don’t have all the answers. “Call your Grandma” or “Call Grandpa” can cheer a grandparent up, but also can be a place for special bonding. Parents (mine) are more apt to share stories with my son than me. Even all these years later it’s hard for them to get out of the role of advising, or the more common conversations now about their health or upcoming medical procedures. With my son, however, there’s still a sparkle and a desire to share stories and a legacy. And I know my son will share them with me, so everyone wins.
So, that’s my two-cents and a gratuitous plug for Jerry’s great book/workbook. Written for grandparents but great for parents whose kids are aging and spreading their wings.