Grandmas don’t just say “that’s nice”– they reel back and roll their eyes and throw up their hands and smile. You get your money’s worth out of grandmas…Author unknown
I have always found it difficult to understand women who say in a distressed tone, “I can’t believe I’m going to be a grandmother.”
Sure, it’s an absolute sign you are growing older, but will being a grandmother change the passing of years? So, how better to spend those years than with your grandchildren?
Today’s Grammy is a new and improved model, hip, downward dogging and botoxed to the hilt. It is a baby boomer Grammy who rules the roost now. We are not our mothers or grandmothers and certainly don’t look the same.
We have worked, exercised, pursued noble goals and watched television go from Howdy Doody to 24 to the Real Housewives of anywhere you can think of.
We think young, so young in fact we can relate to our precious angels with a new and modern mindset.
We still bake cookies, but they are organic and sugar free.
We still play games with our toddlers, but they are on the smart phone.
We text, turn heads and remain relevant and fabulous.
We are the new black.
So what does a modern Grammy do to ensure she remains in good stead with our au currant and health-conscious children?
After all, somewhere deep inside us there is still a need for that Sara Lee brownie, some French fries and an occasional diet cherry Coke.
Young mothers today follow a set of guidelines so filled with rules and regulations, it makes filling out your income taxes a day at the beach.
Is it sugar free? Organic? Plastic without PBA, grass fed and hormone free, vegan, gluten free? The list is endless and grows by the minute.
Did we care if our wine was filled with Flavonoids, our flour was enriched, chickens were free range or vegetables organically grown?
Now it is all about organic, environmentally correct and green clothing and toys.
Washing detergents that don’t pollute and some dubious child-rearing methods that don’t compute.
Still, one must look on with a sense of gratitude that their grandchildren are so loved and adored that our own children are putting so much effort into raising them in new ways. Ways that may ultimately create a whole new set of issues and consequences no one ever foretold or saw coming. Hopefully, they will not.
Sadly, our children haven’t yet grasped the “here one day; gone and guilty another theory” of child rearing.
When my daughter was born her pediatrician recommended a certain brand of formula.
I followed all the rules, but being a baby boomer, pseudo hippy I also had some ideas. I delivered all natural, made baby food in a blender and believed I was doing the best I possibly could to raise her in a healthy and caring fashion. After all, we claimed to be tied to the earth.
Bursting with confidence, I entered second child land self-assured.
I spoke to the doctor about formula for my newborn son and asked if I should continue using the same I’d used for my daughter.
“Oh, no,” he said immediately. “There is way too much fat in that brand, we never recommend it anymore.”
Oops, hello guilt. Confidence just fell to the basement and I am now feeling responsible for every fat cell that may have build a condo in my daughter’s thighs.
I found refuge in the belief my homemade, healthy baby food would somehow repair my folly.
I had only listened to the doctor after all, how was I to know?
Of course my new greatest fear was that the formula I was now feeding my son would also in five years be found sorely lacking.
Motherhood is difficult. There are no manuals, but tons of books with competing methods and, of course the advice from your own parents that everyone takes with a grain of salt. After all, every generation knows better—or does it?
One would think a doctor’s counsel would be paramount in the “this can’t hurt my baby” department, but as every parent learns, medical information changes like the wind and so too the advice that’s offered.
Yet, if raising your own children was challenging, being a grandparent today creates a new set of trials.
Sadly, with aging comes less total recall, at least for some, yet grandparenting foists new rules and regulations on one constantly. My short-term memory has left the building, but I can remember the sixties better now than when I lived them.
I am often guilty of forgetting some new instruction, finding myself in hot water and in, “Mother I told you not to say it that way land.”
This is hard, like studying for finals when your dorm neighbors are partying upstairs.
What to say, how to act, what to feed, wow, there is a great deal of new data, and sadly the computer in my head cannot boot up as quickly.
Our offspring are so serious while we just want to grab our grandchildren and have them all to ourselves.
One friend told me recently she and her husband were at lunch with their grandson.
When Grandpa attempted to feed his pride and joy a piece of cake he was blocked by his daughter’s lecture on the evils of sugar.
He turned to his wife and whispered, “We’ll have him all next week when they’re on vacation then we can feed him whatever we want.”
If this sounds unfair or harsh, let me remind you all that no child ever wanted to rush to grandma’s house for celery? No kid ever bragged that my grandma makes the best quinoa or vegan cupcakes.
Point of fact, one of the joys of childhood is the knowledge that grandparents are exempt from home rules and regulations.
Visiting is entering that special land of “I am the grandchild and anything goes at Grandma’s house.”
An important part of learning about unconditional love is the understanding there is a place on earth where you are ruler of the world. You can do no wrong, and as we all know that place is at Grammy’s.
I imagine that’s why Red Riding Hood was so shocked to see a big bad wolf. No bad stuff could ever happen, because it’s the ultimate “all-about-me zone.”
As an enlightened, yet frequently confused grandmother, I have attempted to live within the guidelines, at least when I could remember them. I have tried to redo my cooking to include more healthy versions of my children’s favorites.
These newly “greened up” recipes help, but don’t you kind of want to occasionally bake that yummy chip filled cookie for your little angels and serve them up a giant glass of cold milk (cows not almonds), read them a Grimm fairy tale then let them watch a Road Runner cartoon with you?
Today’s kids will grow up shopping at Whole Foods (whole paycheck) and believing you have to sell half your stock portfolio to go to a grocery store.
However, at the end of the day, perhaps this may be a case of the egg teaching the chicken. Our kids do deserve the benefit of the doubt. We did.
Ironic if our grandchildren subsequently offer up a whole new set of rules for our great grandchildren, and wouldn’t it be ironic if it were the old ones we lived by?
Lox and Bagel Bites
1 tub whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
½ cup nova lox cut up
1 hard boiled egg optional
Cut cucumbers in 1-inch circles
Hollow out seeds and pat dry and set aside
Mix together lox onions and cream cheese and lighting salt and pepper. Remember lox can be salty so go slow with the seasoning
With a teaspoon or a pastry bag fill cucumber rounds with cream cheese mixture.
Garnish with pieces of bagel chips and if so desired grate some hard boiled egg and capers on top.
Great appetizers for a brunch or a snack anytime.