THE BLOG
08/05/2013 11:43 am ET Updated Oct 05, 2013

An Invisible Virtue of Great Grandparenthood

I have four children, all of whom, except for those normal moments of aberration, have been an endless joy from the beginning.

Those four children have, in turn, produced nine superb GRAND children ranging at the moment from 8 to 36 years old. Three are now over 30 and the other six are between 8 and 12.

We received some years ago the very old wisdom that the common bond between grandparents and grandchildren is a common enemy. And, we have observed, at least from time to time, that is absolutely true. It takes quite a lot of diplomacy to navigate those waters.

Parents are often quite proprietary about their children and do not much appreciate advice, even less help or interference. Parents are often quick to remember and point out flaws in their own upbringings; at least as they remember it, and claim to be remedying those slights and shortcomings in the way they raise their own children.

Then come along those absurdly delicious little creatures called GREAT (for two good reasons) Grandchildren (three so far, with the oldest being three). If you ever thought you knew the meaning of cute, forget it, the word takes on a whole new meaning with the arrival of the GREATS!

I have been reflecting on the dynamics of family relationships to understand the difference between grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I think I have spotted it.

Grandchildren are less on their guard with their Grandparents than with the "common enemy" parents, particularly when it comes to their children.

That leads to a much more relaxed attitude about the overall relationship with their grandparents. Our roles, as GG and PoPops, have been a super wonderful relationship with the little ones that come along quite late in life.

The only other explanation I can imagine is that modern society has evolved a more relaxed and inclusive environment of dual parenting which has changed all those relationships for the better.

In all events, one of the joys of an early and very long happy marriage is the arrival of those adorable GREATS in time to see further into the future!!