all hands on deck

My Parents Are Young Grandparents & It’s Such A Gift

My parents can keep up with my four kids without missing a beat.

My parents can keep up with my four kids without missing a beat.
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock
The Sandwich Generation Issue

My mom had me when she was 18, fresh out of high school and in her first year of college. And she struggled for a long time with feelings of shame and awkwardness as she navigated life as a mother alongside women much older and more experienced than her. For so many years, she felt her youth was a disadvantage and something she tried hard to hide. But today, 10 years since I had the first of my four kids, she and my dad are living their best lives as active, vibrant, able-bodied grandparents. Their youth is a gift, and I never take it for granted.

It’s a gift mainly because I decided to have four pretty wild and eccentric kids. I mean, with one or two kids, you can drop ‘em off pretty much anywhere and know they’ll survive. But four?! My parents can chase my toddler up and down the basketball court, body surf with them in the ocean, and run alongside them as they scooter around the neighborhood without missing a beat. And while I watch it all in action, I am reminded just how lucky I am.

It impacts our mother-daughter relationship so positively as well. She is a fun, independent, active peer who loves to do many things I do. We go on power walks, chat about the same pop culture happenings, and enjoy a quick overnight together in the city for dinner and shopping. She is entirely in tune with the current culture, and we communicate primarily like best friends — while she also offers me the most sound, honest, and motherly advice about pretty much everything.

My dad, too, is much younger than my friends' fathers. We share the same humor, he lets me shop for his clothes, and his yearly Spotify wrap is mostly Dua Lipa. While my friend’s dads are adorably frustrated and confused by the latest iPhone technology, mine is texting me links to favorite TikTok videos with a sarcastic comment and accompanying emoji. And as a grandfather, he’s the best of both worlds because while he does some traditionally grandparent-ish things with my kids, like play cards and read books, he also dominates video games, gives shoulder rides, and can out-muscle my older ones in a friendly WWE couch-match.

As I look ahead, I feel hopeful that their youth will allow them the ability to be here for so many of our future moments. Graduations, weddings, my grandkids, I want us to experience it all together. I want my mom’s youth — the one thing she once felt so embarrassed by — to be the biggest blessing of her life. Because it certainly is mine.

And sometimes I feel sad knowing I won’t have the same grandmother story, since my childrearing began a full decade after hers. I remember sitting in my hospital bed after the birth of my fourth child. The three little ones were with my parents, and as I sat staring at my new daughter, I wondered if I would do that for her one day.

I realized then that if she has kids someday, I will likely be far older than my mother. I realized the whole scene would likely look a lot different with me maybe moving a bit slower, with a little less energy. But rather than dwell on the fact that I may never get to be the super-young grandparent that my parents have been, I decided I will just continue to feel insanely lucky that my kids got to have that. And who knows, maybe I will end up being the hippest, most agile 80-year-old on the block. I sure hope so.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.