Being a Grandparent Reminds Us of Being a Grandkid


Most of us have delightful, fond memories of our grandparents; maybe we still do if they’re still living.

Typically grandparents are a little more indulgent than they were as parents, a little more relaxed, less demanding and allow the grandkids to bend the rules more. Grandparents even chuckle a little when they recognize that they never would have let their own children do what they let their grandkids do.

I’m very fortunate to have 5 wonderful, smart, fun, well-behaved (not always of course) grandkids; 3 are biologically mine and the other 2 are my husband’s grand cherubs. They are close in age. In fact for a few months, they are chronologically a year apart: Mine: 8 years old; His 7yo; Mine 6: His 5 and Mine 4. And then someone has a birthday and it’s all out of whack!

I just experienced one of those crazy indulgent events with my grandkids that triggered reflecting on my own grandparents.

Just Once I Wanted My Mom to Buy Me Candy at the Show.

Last week I took my three local grandkids (my husband’s biological grandchildren live in Florida while we are in Michigan) for a day’s outing by myself. It was a blast, an indoor adventure site followed by lunch and the movie Zootopia, which by the way is great!

The theater was virtually empty on a Wednesday afternoon so show tickets were sold inside at the snack counter. As I approached the counter, three cherubs in tow, I had an instant flashback to when I was a child.

For a millisecond I was a child again, back with my mom at the State Theater in Kalamazoo to see the new release Mary Poppins. On some level growing up, I knew that movies and many other events were costly enough to be a rare treat. I also knew not to ask Mom for candy or popcorn too. But despite the financial constraints, just once I wanted my mom to buy goodies at the show for me anyway. Then my childhood flashback ended, just as quickly as it had materialized.

I glanced toward my three grandkids staring at the shelves of delights, their little hands plastered on the glass separating them from treat heaven. Simultaneously, without even realizing it I heard myself say “Would you like to pick out something for the show? Either candy or buttered popcorn?”

Three pair of eyes bugged out as they made their selections. They all thanked me but Lilli gleefully added, “Thank you Grandma! Mom never buys us candy at the show!”

I smiled and replied. “And neither did my mom nor did I let your mom when she was a kid.” I was gleeful too.

Remembering My Grandparents

It’s funny what seemingly trivial events become branded in one’s long-term memory.

My mother’s mother, my Grandma Oberle, passed away when I was six, so I only have a few memories of her. Usually I visited grandma in her bedroom as she was often resting. But on one weekend visit, she rallied. I distinctly remember her standing up from the couch to give me a big hug. Tragically though my Grandmother Oberle died a few days later. I was crushed and confused.

Memories of my dad’s mother, Grandma Ward are more enduring. She and I made endless domino chains on a huge, oval wood table. She indulged me with little glass Cokes and popcorn on every Friday evening’s visit! Grandma Ward was energized and never stopped getting things for me and everyone else. Before they had indoor plumbing installed, we used an outhouse at Grandma’s. The outhouse freaked me out a bit so if my mom couldn’t accompany me, Grandma Ward would.

Sometimes I think about the innocuous things I remember so vividly about my grandmothers especially. I wonder what treasured moments about their grandmother (me) will be imbedded in my grandchildren’s minds over time. I bet buying candy at the show could be a permanent imprint and I’m sure there will be more.

What do you remember?

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About Elaine C.Pereira

Elaine retired in June 2010 as a school Occupational Therapist where she worked with special needs children. She lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband, Joe. Between them, they have five children — Joe has three sons and Elaine has twin daughters-and soon-to-be five grandchildren. Elaine has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Wayne State University. Elaine is the author of I Will Never Forget and she was inspired to tell her mother’s incredible story in part to help other caregivers coping with memory loss issues in their loved ones. I Will Never Forget

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