Thursday, September 16, 2010

Secret Language of Grandparents

The other day I was at Target and heard a woman talking to someone. Without even seeing her, I knew it was a grandmother talking to her grandchild. We were speaking the same language. It's a totally different way of talking as a grandparent than as a parent.

As a parent, I was responsible for raising my children. Therefore, I had to be diligent and consistent with my kids. I had to correct and steer their behavior, attitudes, words, etc, etc. It was my job to mold the next generation. I took that job seriously even when it would have been easier to ignore things. My consistency mattered as my children grew up.

I did the best job I could. I messed up because I'm a fallen person. I was often aware that my children were a reflection of me. Like it or not, we all tend to see a child's action and bring it back to the parent. "A nut doesn't fall far from the tree." In spite of telling myself that each person is accountable for their own actions, I still felt the pressure to shape my children's behavior.

Then along comes the grand joy of being a grandparent. *Insert big sigh* I am no longer responsible for raising my grandchildren. I am responsible for loving them. Nothing more and nothing less. I no longer make the rules, I enforce someone else's rules for them. No one looks at their actions and blames grandparenting! There is a real freedom in being a grandparent.

So, what is that secret language? First, in order to sound like a grandparent, you have to slow your speech a little. Your words are liberally sprinkled with praise, encouragement and 'I love you's. Grandparent-ese drops the harried frustration, repeats words as needed and pauses more than usual.

Grandparent-ese is a native language of children. Sadly, parents have a difficult time understanding this language. They are usually convinced that someone besides the grandparent is speaking. Around grandparents, one will often hear, "That is not the person who raised me!"

When I saw the person I overheard talking at Target, I was right that it was a grandmother. And I wasn't surprised because I speak her language!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh ruth, how lovely! just makes me want to have grandchildren right now. they are lucky to have you! julie

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.