This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding. Look at them. Aren’t they beautiful?
Damon and I are blessed with these four incredible parents. We’ve always loved and respected our parents, even though I’m sure we didn’t always act like it. But now that we’re parents and they’re grandparents, I regularly am stopped in my tracks by the sheer force of appreciation of them and admiration for what they’ve done in their lives. People often joke that when your children become parents, then they’ll understand—payback time. Luckily, our parents aren’t jerks about it *grin* but yes, I “get it” a lot better now than I did even just a year ago.
What makes a grandparent? I think the name says it all. These individuals have been in the new parent trenches. Just like us, they often agonized over the little stuff, tiny details of their new baby’s life, concerned with doing their utmost best by their child. Somewhere along the way, they noticed that a bruise didn’t mean the end of the world – in fact, most things just kind of sort themselves out. The important things are bound up in treating your child and your spouse both with love and respect. This big-picture understanding of parenting, knowing that (hopefully) your kids aren’t totally screw-ups despite a mistake here and there, makes them grand.
They’re fun. They can relax. Sure, they can put their foot down when it’s important. They understand the concerns and anxieties of us, the new parents, and they treat us gently. They are more than happy to play with their beautiful grandson while Damon and I catch our breath and stretch our backs. Each of them is going to have something different to teach Oscar. I can’t wait to see the best of each of these good people reflected in his life.
I think back on all the moments we’ve shared as children to our parents in the past, and I think of all the moments Damon and I are sharing now with Oscar. It floors me. This parenting thing isn’t cyclical. You don’t love your children and they love you just as much back. I mean, they love you, but will they ever love you as much? Or more to the point, how could they ever love you the same way you love them?
I love my parents deeply—I always have. They have seen me through some hard, hard times. They’ve also been there when I was bubbling over with enthusiasm and ebullience—and they are still there when I need them. Debbie and David, my in-laws, are amazing individuals and regularly humble me with their openness, love, and acceptance. I look at my husband—their son—and I see them in him. I am so grateful.
Just as I didn’t know my capacity for love until Oscar was born, just as it broadened and deepened my love for Damon, so has being a parent deepened my love for our parents. Each day, each struggle we have with Oscar, each moment of giddy joy, is colored by the awareness that this was a moment they shared with me and Damon as children. I can see them—our grand parents—in us.
So to them, I say thank you. Thank you for taking care of the important stuff. Thank you for loving us even when it hurt—you loved us well. Thank you for keeping us clean sometimes—and letting us get dirty, too. Thank you for playing with us, reading with us, making every little thing into a game. Thank you for accepting us, strengths and foibles, smiles and sullenness. Thank you for giving us life, and for giving and giving and giving and always forgiving. Thank you for all the joy. Thank you for being grand.