The Grandparent Bond is strong, supportive, and beautiful to watch grow. I have an amazing relationship with my parents. I love and respect them to such an extent that I simply can’t put it in to words. I look up to them for everything and place them high on a pedestal whether they like it or not. When I say these things to them, my Mum would answer, “We’re not perfect”. But I think they are.
I am the youngest of three and will always be their baby despite being 33 next month. They gave me, my sister and my brother a childhood that is drenched in good and happy memories. They raised us in the 80s when the recession was hard and money was low. My Mum was a stay at home mother until I was 13 and my Dad was always the best at his job – in my opinion anyway. We would joke that my Dad was actually a member of the CIA, undercover, working in the Ordnance Survey because he couldn’t (and still can’t) read a map! Go figure! To be fair he can read a map but is also an expert at getting us lost despite the map in hand. As I was the youngest I got a lot of one on one time with my mum after I wandered home from primary school, since my brother and sister were still at secondary school. I remember coming home to freshly baked buns as they cooled on racks in the kitchen and helping my mum make the icing before my brother came home to lick the bowl and beaters.
We went on mountain hikes and bike rides. We visited museums and libraries. We got the bus everywhere. And we went hostelling in Galway where the boys and girls were separated and we said goodnight to my Dad and brother until the morning. It was all an adventure and my parents made it exciting and memorable.
There are a lot of times when I try to replicate my childhood for A. But this is impossible because times change. I don’t own a bike and I’m sure if I attempted to cycle more than a mile I’d be exhausted (seriously unfit here!) And I’m not sure I’d manage to encourage B to go hostelling… in fact I’m also used to my 4 or 5 star luxury now too.
Seeing my parents with my daughter though brings back the sentiment my Mum and Dad had for us as kids. Whenever they are minding A for the day, I see the happiness and excitement in their eyes and their minds ticking over with the plans they have for A that day. They build memories for her in a way that B nor I could. They are creating a bond with her that will be everlasting with new adventures. Without fail, they bring her to beach, or out for a giant cookie or cupcake in a cafe. They are down on their hands and knees playing with her, chatting to her, involving her in their lives.
I didn’t have a special relationship, or any real relationship for that matter, with my grandparents. My Mum’s parents had passed before I was born and I’m sad that I never got to know them. She tells me stories of them which belong in an era I have no understanding of. My grandfather on my Dad’s side passed when I was seven and my grandmother, I unfortunately never bonded with up to her passing when I was in my twenties. It is a large family, with a lot of cousins who lived closer to them, who saw them more and owned that relationship instead of me. I mostly remember, when we visited, being offered red lemonade, and sitting on the sofa watching Coronation Street until my Dad gave us the loose change in his pocket and my brother and I would pretend to play poker. It was a generation of the children must not be heard. We sat quietly waiting until the visit was over and it was time to get the bus home. I don’t remember having conversations with my grandparents or knowing anything real about them until my parents shared stories when I was older. I don’t regret or resent this, it was simply the time we lived in.
Times do change though.
A is hitting three and has had countless conversations with her grandparents… mostly “Granda, will you put on Peppa Pig” because she’s a demanding little one and what A wants A gets in her grandparents house! In fact, we lived with my parents for four months last year when we were between houses, and although A was coming up to two years old at the time and it’s been eight months since we moved out, she has remnants of memories of where we slept and Saturday morning fry ups (my Dad incredibly manages to cook a fry to perfection while the timing of the sausages, rashers, toast, beans, fried tomatoes and eggs just stresses me to the nines!). She has never forgotten helping her Nanny hang the clothes on the line or bumpity bumming down the stairs
She runs to my parents with excitement and love when she see’s them and constantly asks to call them on the phone. (Which I don’t entertain because lets face it, it can be frustrating attempting a phone call with a toddler who just giggles and stares at the phone.) I know as the years progress she will have a distinct and loving relationship with them as I see my sisters kids, who are older than A, share a connection with them that is deep and loving.
This post is more about showing my appreciation to my parents more than anything else. You don’t realise how much your parents have done for you until you become a parent yourself.
The sacrifices they made to give you everything they could.
The love and education they gave and still give.
The respect and encouragement and support which is unfailing and honest.
I thank them wholeheartedly and honestly –
For giving me a childhood I look back on so fondly.
For giving me a basis on how to be a good parent.
For showing me the truth and reality of a happy and longlasting marriage – they are married 45 years this month.
They are incredible parents and beautiful people. I am honoured to be their daughter.
(*out of courtesy to my parents you only get a snippet of my Mum’s arm and my Dad’s leg as they’d rather not be blasted across my blog. Totally understandable. Trust me when I say they are full human beings with all their limbs especially arms which give the best hugs*)