There is so much talk about how important your “tribe” is today. Don’t get me wrong, finding supportive friends is amazing, helpful, and definitely needed. However, the most critical part of my family’s tribe are our Grandparents.
I’m not sure that we would have made it through the early years without them.
Actually, that’s not true. We would have figured it out, but it would not have been easy. Plus, watching the bond between my children and my parents is something I wouldn’t want to live without.
I didn’t grow up close to our grandparents. Both my mother and father’s families lived in Michigan, while we moved to Wisconsin for my Dad’s job. We would make a special trip each Thanksgiving to see our family, and my grandparents would also come visit us. I was always so excited to spend time with them. They took us fun places, brought us gifts, and let us have treats. I was also envious of my cousins who lived nearby and had lunches, sleepovers, and playtime with their grandparents any time they wanted.
As I grew older, I got the itch to leave the nest. I went to college out of state, and then moved to yet another state for a job. But somehow, I always knew I would come back home to Wisconsin. I missed living near my immediate family. My mom is really my best friend. I couldn’t imagine seeing my parents or brother only during the holidays. Luckily, I married my husband who feels the same way.
The first person I told I was pregnant was my mom (sorry honey!) and she was even in the delivery room with us. From the time my oldest was born, both sets of grandparents have been with us every step of the way. They were the only ones I trusted as babysitters for a long time. They changed diapers, fed bottles, and even let this mommy take a nap when sleep deprivation was slowly killing her.
When my second pregnancy was filled with complications, including bedrest, they became invaluable. Both set of grandparents took turns taking care of my oldest, and we even moved in with my parents for a period of time. My mom took me to every ultrasound appointment, while feeding my toddler. They helped potty train him, and he also spent his first night away from me at his other grandparents’ house. Once my twins were born, not only did they visit their newest grandchildren every day in the NICU, but continued to help me care for my oldest, so I could spend time there too.
My kids are now older, six and eight, but I still rely on our grandparent tribe. They still babysit for date nights, go with me to doctor’s appointments, and will run over if I have to work.
My Dad is their favorite zoo companion and story hour partner. They prefer both grandmas’ cooking over mine any day.
While they make the holidays and events special, the biggest thing I love about them is that they are part of our everyday life. There isn’t a couple days that go by that we don’t see one of our grandparents. I hope they realize how much we all treasure them. I definitely realize how lucky we are to have our grandparents in our lives.