Being a grandparent is one of the most exciting roles in my life. If you are a grandparent, perhaps you would agree. However, it is a challenge for me to be a grandparent and not share my knowledge and wisdom of parenting that I gained through experience and in my work in the field of parenting.
My job, as a grandparent, is to step back and watch as my beautiful grandchild emerges in spirit and personality and my daughter grows in her own parenting. A few weekends ago, my granddaughter spent the night. We always have so much fun playing together. Perhaps you can imagine all the toys that we bring out as she moves in for the night.
We played with a dollhouse, cards, books, and a huge suitcase of old Barbie’s, Barbie clothes, and Barbie shoes. They were everywhere. Every piece of clothing came out as well as all the shoes. These are toys and goodies that I saved from my girl’s childhood.
As it was getting near the time Maya was leaving to go home to her mom, I encouraged her to join me in cleaning up the toys. She immediately said no. When I heard this no, my mind went to the old me who was talking to my little girls and I almost blurted out, “if you don’t clean up these toys, they will not be here tomorrow.” I caught myself before I spoke. Then as I reflected, I realized that I have not had to encourage this type of ‘clean up’ behavior since my kids were little, a long time ago, and that was just how I did it.
As I realized and caught myself, I shifted into a more conscious approach and asked her to join me once again in putting these toys away. She again said no and added she did not feel like it. I did not feel like it either but did not mention that. I just said okay, I understand. She left soon after with her mom and reported to her that “Yaya” had asked her to clean up but I said no.” Her mom asked why, and she gave the same reason, that she did not feel like it. Her mom said, “if we play with toys, we have to clean them up.”
The next time she came over and began to take the toys out, I asked, are you able to help me clean up today? She said yes. After we were done playing, she cleaned everything up.
As I reflected, I allowed myself the opportunity to admire my growth instead of focusing on what almost happened. I could laugh about it, celebrate it, and move on.