On being a grandparent

My fourth grandbaby was born this week. I helped out by taking care of his 19 month old big sister while his parents were at the hospital. Being able to be present to give this support to my daughters is one of canstockphoto17685636the reasons I started my next chapter back in January.

Why is it so important for me to spend time with my family as my four grandchildren grow up?  My father died when I was just 4 years old. His death left my mother to raise my 3 older siblings and me alone. Her parents lived 3 hours away.  We only saw them a few times a year – a 3 hour drive for a mom and four kids was a big deal back then. My father’s parents had died before my parents were married. And my own daughters grew up without grandparents. By the time my husband and I were in our 30’s, all of our parents were deceased. None of them lived to age 70.

As a professional woman, I have worked far more than 40 hours a week since my late 20’s and been in management since 1984. When I had babies, a 6-week maternity leave was the norm. Both my daughters went to infant programs in daycare centers when I went back to work. I learned that babies start to smile at their parents (and it’s not just gas) at around 6 weeks old. I realized that I would miss her first smile being back at work.

I treasure the times I have now with my grandkids. My daughters are appreciative of the help I can give but don’t want it to be a burden. I have heard people my age say being a grandparent is great but it’s really nice to be able to hand the kids back to their parents. Yes, kids are demanding and tiring when you are no longer young. And as the grandparent there is so much we don’t know about their specific routines even though we successfully raised our own kids many years ago. My 19 month old charge this week has had a fever and an ear infection. I had to figure out how to get her to take her medicine on top of the normal routines.

I’ve quoted various articles and leaders in previous posts, but never a children’s book. As we read the popular and prize winning book “Olivia” by Ian Falconer at bedtime last night, the closing struck home: When they’ve finished reading, Olivia’s mother gives her a kiss and says, “You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway”. And Olivia gives her a kiss back and says, “I love you anyway too”.

I hope to be a positive role model for my grandkids as they grow up. I look forward to all the fun times we’ll have together. As I watch the debate about gun control in Congress, I hope that our leaders will do the right thing and help move us toward the safe and loving country we want for our children and grandchildren. One of the most powerful health care organizations, the American Medical Association, took a big step last week in calling gun violence a public health crisis. I applaud them for that.

7 thoughts on “On being a grandparent

  1. Monique Wilson on said:

    Wow!! Such an insightful blog post!! As a new grandmother, I could relate to so many of your points. My grandson really makes me reflect on my legacy.

    I can say that grandparents offer a special blend of unconditional love that every child needs.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Monique, thanks for the feedback. Unconditional love and the occasional spoiling while we try not to disrupt the discipline and routines the parents are working so hard on!

  2. Lydon Neumann on said:

    Sue, As a newly minted grandparent for the first time just 16 months ago, I really appreciate your insight. Thanks for taking time to share this post with its emphasis on generational support from family and friends. Lydon

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Lydon, thanks for the feedback. Love seeing your grandchild pix periodically on facebook. Such a wonderful time for us grandparents!

  3. Karen Hankins on said:

    Sue, it really is refreshing to hear women in IT discuss their families, especially their Grandchildren! I too am in Healthcare IT, and most of the time, I read about IT professionals the discussion is geared toward either starting a family, or not having one at all. I was able to be a stay at home mom when my children were young, and I loved it, as I valued the time I had with my children; but circumstances demanded that I get out into the workforce so juggling a family, education ( both the kids and mine) and career has been my delight for the past 15+ years. I love being a Grandmother, and my little ones love to hear about my travels all across the USA.

    Congratulations on your newest grandchild, and thank you for giving a realistic voice to other Grandmothers who are in Healthcare IT.

    Karen

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Karen, thanks for the kind words. Glad you could relate to my grandparenting stories. It certainly is a unique and special role!!

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