"The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy." - Sam Levenson
For as long as people have been reproducing, grandparents have existed in all their warm, affectionate and pipe-tobacco-scented glory. But they don't just exist -- they are superstars in our children's eyes, and we, like Sam Levenson said, are often the enemy by comparison.
At this point in my life (I'm 22 years old), I've decided I want in on this grandparent thing.
They never have to discipline because grandchildren never misbehave in front of them.
They get to do fun activities with their children's adorable offspring and then drop them off at home for all the boring, unpleasant stuff like vaccinations and bedtime.
They are respected.
They get 10% off at most restaurants.
Our kids consider them heroes.
What's not to like?
I have an idea of how I'd begin to embrace my inner granny, not that I've thought long and hard about it or anything.
I would bake more chocolate chip cookies. Everyone knows grandmas are always baking cookies and letting you lick the batter-covered spoon, whether or not it spoils your appetite. That's part of what makes them great. So I'll be doing that, regularly. My waistline might suffer, but achieving grandmother status is probably worth it.
I might start telling lots of embarrassing stories about myself. My mom does it all the time and it could be part of the reason my daughter is so obsessed with her. I mean, who doesn't enjoy hearing about that time I wore a poodle skirt in my 2nd grade talent show? Besides me, of course. What about the time I dressed up as Amerigo Vespucci, the namesake of our country, and gave a presentation in three classes at school? Oh, the shame.
I've thought about taking up pipe smoking, since that's so grandfather-ish. I don't know anyone who smokes a pipe that isn't the father of at least 2 generations. Plus, I think I'd look pretty cool, but that's probably just delusion on my part (again).
I guess I'll need to start carrying snacks in my purse, since grandmothers always seem to have something handy to "tide you over until dinner." As long as they have their handbag, they are prepared for any situation. Band-aids, snacks, toys, a book and ibuprofen are never far away when Grandma's purse is nearby. In other words, granny's bag = Apocalypse Survival Kit (ASK).
I'll even let my daughter stay up past her bedtime in my quest to become more granny-like. I'm pretty sure that's what grandparents do, but it's probably because of the large amount of desserts they are known to dish out after dinner. Those wicked, wonderful people.
It's no mistake that we call them grandparents. They are the more patient, better prepared and yes, all-around grander versions of parents. They are tireless, wise, and they don't sweat the small stuff. I have a feeling that even if I bake cookies, tell embarrassing stories about myself, load my purse with emergency supplies and forget about bedtime, I'll still fall short of grandparent status. It's OK. I'll get there one day -- and let's hope that day is far, far off in the distance, because to be honest, my chocolate chip cookies could use some work.
Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife, and college student. She writes about the parts of parenthood you didn't expect when you were expecting. Like her page at facebook.com/MotherInterrupted or visit the website at motherinterrupted.com.