What kind of relationship do you have with the “other” grandparents? Is it a tug-of-war over the grandchildren or a unified team that appreciates each others’ strengths?
In a previous post I shared some tips for getting along with the “other” grandparents to help us get over those moments when we feel envious because we don’t have as much face time with our grandchildren as the “other” grandparents do.
I haven’t experienced competition with the “other” grandparents because I see my two granddaughters twice a month while their paternal grandparents only see them twice a year. For the past 12 years, my husband and I have driven to our daughter and son-in-law’s house to spend a few nights with them.
Recently, I offered to take my granddaughters to visit their “other” grandparents. They live four hours away in a picturesque mountain resort area across the road from a beautiful lake. I’d never visited them and thought it would be fun for all of us. It turned out to be a restful and relaxing vacation with spectacular views of the lake and mountains.
We spent two nights with them and everyone got along without a moment of conflict. Whenever possible, I retreated to my room to read or walked down to the lake so the “other” grandparents could have time alone with the girls. Their Grammy played Rummikub with the girls and their Grampy took them for rides in his golf cart to pick up golf balls at the golf course. I enjoyed watching them interact without any feelings of envy. I felt generous because I know how much joy it brings me to spend time alone with the girls and I wanted them to have that same pleasure.
They have four other grandchildren (two sets of twins,) who live 30 minutes away. The cousins came to visit and the six children spent the afternoon running all over Grammy and Grampy’s house, screeching with joy as they played Hide and Seek, Sardines, and Concentration.
I enjoyed getting to know my son-in-law’s parents and appreciate the unique gifts they bring to the relationship. Grammy loves to play games and taught us all how to play Hand and Foot, a card game similar to Canasta. Grampy, a retired science teacher and forest ranger, told us the names of all the birds who came to nibble on the bird feeder on their deck.
By sharing our granddaughters it turned out to be a win-win-win situation. The two girls basked in the attention from all their grandparents and we had the chance to share our values and passions with them, to bond as a family, to teach them skills and to create memories. We also provided a good role model for the girls by all getting along with each other.
On the drive home, as we wound our way back down the mountain through the lush forest, we witnessed a magical moment as five deer trotted across our path — three adults and two babies. Seeing that extended family of deer reinforced my good feelings about sharing my granddaughters with their “other” grandparents. It was a final reminder that grandchildren thrive when they have lots of grandparents who love them.