She goes by a thousand names — Mimi, Nana, MawMaw, Granny — but no matter what our kids call her, they’re so lucky to have her in their lives. Because grandmothers are the unsung heroes of “coming in clutch.” They’re there when we need them, be it for guidance or relief or a last-minute sitter on those rare occasions when we’re invited to have a grown-up social life. Like motherhood, grandmothering is a pretty thankless job, so a grateful shoutout to the good grandmas is long overdue.
Grandmas save our sanity on those days when we’re thisclose to losing our ever-loving minds. All it takes is a phone call and Grandma is ready to take those “precious babies” off our hands, if even for a hot second, so we can cool down. They’ve been there, done that, totally understand the need for a break, and are eager (at least most of the time) to swoop to the rescue. And when there’s an emergency or a sudden scheduling conflict, who do we call when we can’t possibly be in two places at once? That’s right: grandmas.
Grandmas love our kids the way we do: completely, unconditionally, despite the occasional jerkish behavior. The best babysitters might enjoy hanging out with our kids and find them tolerable, but grandmas have that real, parental (uh, grandparental?), take-a-bullet kind of love. And that’s priceless.
Grandmas think our kids are adorable. Nobody else in the world thinks our kids are as adorable as we do — with the notable exception of their grandmas. Just ask them. But be prepared to see photos, lots and lots of photos.
Grandmas are more patient with our kids than we are. Their life is typically slower-paced than ours; even if they work, they aren’t trying to balance that with chauffeuring kids to this appointment and that lesson, being overrun with laundry, cooking for a crowd, and all the other responsibilities that anyone with a growing family is saddled with. They don’t spread themselves as thin and are more willing to undertake time-consuming tasks and projects with our kids, like puzzles with a bazillion tiny pieces. Also, they’re willing to listen, enthusiastically even, to endlessly rambling monologues about Roblox and Minecraft and YouTube and all the other things that nearly put parents to sleep. (And if they do doze off, nobody gets mad at them because…grandmas.)
Grandmas give our kids something to look fondly back on later in their lives. If you were privileged enough to hang out with your grandmother, I guarantee you’ve got at least a handful of good memories — maybe some of your best. And our kids will have the same. Because even if it’s just a recollection of something simple, like cooking together or taking a walk, memories made with Grandma are always the touchstone of childhood recollections.
Grandmas always have food their grandkids don’t have at home, usually something sweet. And whether she makes brownies from scratch or hands out Little Debbies, you can bet she’s got something yummy at the ready. And even if it’s something we don’t usually allow our kids to eat, they can always eat it at Grandma’s. Treat-peddling is just what grandmas do. And there’s some unspoken grandmotherly rule that no one, under any circumstance, leaves Grandma’s house hungry.
Grandmas are a soft place to land. They don’t have to play the role of primary disciplinarian, so they can just be…well, grandmas. It isn’t up to them to dole out consequences for poor choices made at home or at school — all they have to do is love and nurture, which is why I “ran away” to my grandma’s approximately 8,000 times as a little kid (because my parents were sooo unfair).
Grandmas come in all kinds: devotedly religious, free-spirited hippies, Betty Crockers, and biker babes. Some are really young, and some are really old. And if our kids are lucky enough to have multiple grandmas, they may have different types — which means exposure to more varied life experiences, more diverse cultural backgrounds, more traditions and skills and stories. Grandmas have gained a lot of wisdom and insight in their lifetimes, and they pass that on to their grandchildren. That is, when they can get a word in edgewise.
So here’s to the grandmas, all kinds, for the support and encouragement they give and the love they’re always ready to dish out. (Also, the snacks.) We’re sorry if we don’t always give you the thanks you deserve.
But then again, you’re probably used to that — because before you were a grandma, you spent a long time being a mom.