Some of us Baby Boomer grandparents got an early start – having children when we were young. So being grandparents is not new for us. In fact some of us started so young that we are already great grandparents.
Imagine that. We thought we never would be old enough to be grandparents, much less great grandparents.
And then there are those among us who will never be grandparents for whatever reason – either we never had children or our children are choosing to never have children of their own.
But we all have some understanding and first-hand knowledge of the thrill and absolute joy that comes with being a grandparent. We’ve watched our Boomer friends or our siblings go gaga over their grandchildren.
We even may have wondered if they’ve suddenly gone off the deep end when they become so goofy and obsessed with their grandchildren, as if they invented the idea.
But then when you think about it, that’s what we Baby Boomers really do best – reinvent ourselves over and over.
You can find us out on the playgrounds with them, climbing the monkey bars and sliding through tunnels into a pile of sand.
If it’s too cold outside or inclement weather, you might find us streaking through the house hiding from and seeking each other or building forts out of sheets and other household items.
Baby Boomer grandparents are more active with our grandchildren and more in their world than our grandparents were with us.
If the grands are on the floor building a castle out of Legos, we’re on the floor with them. If they’re splashing around in the kiddie pool, we’re right in there with them.
While we don’t like being old enough to have grandchildren, we recognize the amazing opportunities it provides us.
We can act as young as we feel again – we can be silly, make outrageous sounds and faces, make up stories, play all those games we had put aside long ago, sing at the top of our lungs, watch and giggle at cartoons, laugh out loud at nothing.
We can dance exactly like we want to with no concern for being judged. Young children love it when the grown-ups let loose and express themselves.
They wouldn't dream of thinking we're not doing it right.
As they get older, we get more creative with ways to spend quality time with them. We may go on shopping excursions together, we plan vacation trips with them, we go to movies with them.
Studies have shown that strong bonds between grandparents and grandchildren are not only good for the grandparents. Grandchildren are positively impacted as well.
In addition to being more active and more silly with our young ones, we also get healthier by being part of their lives.
Research says symptoms of depression decrease, cognitive skills increase and less stress is experienced for grandparents who spend significant time with their grandchildren.
They can help us with technology; we can help them with emotional and behavioral issues.
Remember, we are a link to a past they don't have any knowledge of. We know the stories and we can tell them not only about their parents as children, but about us as children.
How else will they ever appreciate what they have now without this kind of perspective?
As grandparents, many of us recognize that we’ve been given another chance to get it right.
We were likely too driven to “make it” when our own children were coming up to actually enjoy their company much.
Their very lives depended on us and that’s where we were focused, helping them survive and mature. Providing a roof over their heads and food on their tables.
Except for the five million or so Baby Boomer grandparents who are actually raising their grandchildren now, the rest of us get to turn these precious ones back over to their parents at the end of the day.
Someone else is responsible for them – we just have the luxury of enjoying and doting on them.
We know how quickly they grow up – now we have the time to appreciate them fully. Unfortunately, we didn’t always have that kind of time with their parents in their childhoods.
And for the most part, we’re in better financial situations than we were when we were raising our children. We can and do spend loads of money on our grandchildren – to the tune of $35 billion annually, averaging $500 each year on each grandchild. And sometimes, it’s a lot more.
Family has always been a top priority for Baby Boomers. Grandchildren just make it a richer experience.