Monday, January 4, 2016

Old dog and new tricks

Remember how scared and unsure you were when you had your first child? Remember how much easier it was with the second? Well, no one tells you what it will be like when you have your first, second, etc., grandchild. The role changes for the grandparent. What we learned from raising our children is really a moot point when it comes to our children becoming parents. We have an all new learning curve.

Having my older granddaughters as teenagers when the twins were born has probably taught me the most important lessons in this senior career as a grandparent.  My daughter was younger when she had her children. I was involved in helping her. The 'mom' in me seemed to be stronger than the grandma at that point. My son was thirty-six when he and Lisa married. It was a completely different scenario. I had to find my footing and learn an all new way.

The day I say that I am too old to change or learn is the day you might as well send me to my grave. I am perhaps an old dog, but I sure as heck can learn new tricks. I believe these old sayings are a cop-out. We age more quickly when we dig in our heels. For some reason, many people fight to stay just exactly as they are without thought to others or to themselves. If we cannot change and learn new ways, then we have lost our usefulness. Harsh words? Perhaps. But we seem to be living in a world where no one wants to budge. What are we teaching our grandchildren and our children?

The twins brought with them a whole new set of rules. I learned the hard way to keep my thoughts to myself. If I was not asked for an opinion, then I needed to understand that it was selfish to think it was needed. It was not about my son and his wife. It was about my ego, thinking I was the one who knew best. Changing is difficult. First it requires recognition. Next it demands a new mindset. Lastly, it teaches us to grow and adapt to a new way of thinking about our children and, more than that, about ourselves. Standing around with my feelings hurt did not serve any of us well.

I admit that I have a long learning curve. There is so much I do not know. It is mind-boggling that I was so stupid. I found that in supporting my son, I learned about this new generation of parents. I also found that my son asked more and more for my opinion. Doors that could have closed opened. I found that I had handed my children off to their own lives. I had done my job. Now I needed to concern myself with myself.

Amazing what we miss when we close our minds to new ideas. So many become hardened as they age. Why? Is it fear of stepping away from all they know to learn more? Are we afraid of failure to the point that we put up walls? Do we stick our noses in where they are not wanted because our lives are lacking? I have no answers, but I feel sorry for those who cannot change. They fail to learn from their families. They fail to be amazed by the new lessons in life. It must be lonely in that cocoon.

I guess I am becoming an old dog. Yet I feel excited about what I learn from my grandkids. I love the way James and Lisa just drop by. It says a lot about a relationship that continues to grow. We have a choice as we move along life's path. We can move ahead or be left behind.


  1. Thank you for so clearly expressing the challenges - and rewards - I've also been experiencing lately. I'm in the process of learning and developing my role with both a new grandchild (now 1 year old) and her mother - my youngest son's wife of only 2 years. I have other grandchildren and another DIL I've known for many years so it's been a bit of shock to my system that I need to develop a new role - again. But as you say the learning is exciting and fresh.

    1. Constantly, I am facing new situations. We who have daughter-in-laws know that we often become the second mom. I often I feel that I get the short end of the stick. And often I do. Right now I am battling an inner war of hurt, but time will pass and I will put it aside. It is difficult to be taken advantage of and to put it on a back burner. We all have our hurts. It is how we deal with them that matters. What matters is that we set it aside and not let it grow.