When my kids left for college I had a bolt of wisdom hit my brain like lightning,
“I want them to come home.”
You might say, “that’s not wisdom, that’s separation anxiety.”
No, it was wisdom. When they stepped out of that door our relationship changed. They were making decisions without my guidance, without the benefit of my experience – unless they asked.
They’ve made decisions I didn’t particularly like or agree with and I’ve had to stand back with my mouth shut and let the consequences happen, let them struggle, let them cry, my heart breaking knowing that they could have avoided it. I’ve comforted them and helped them out of the ditch all the while biting my tongue to keep from saying, “I could’ve told you that would happen.”
Why didn’t I step in? They needed to learn, they needed their own experience. And I knew that if I jumped in and told them what to do that we would’ve had World War Three or at the very least it would have been an insult to their pride. And like I said, “I want them to come home.” Oh, I’ve spoken up when the danger or risk was greater than the possible conflict. That is how “Pick Your Battles” works. For the most part, though, I treat them as educated, reasonable adults able to make informed decisions for their age. And I let them do it without always having to give my advice – unless they ask.
And I am applying this same modus operandi to feeding the grandkids.
I mean, to be honest, I have to recognize that I haven’t been the parent of a small child for 27 years. There’s a lot of research and data that’s come out. There’s a heck of a lot of information at my kid’s fingertips than was never available to me. They are making informed decisions, they don’t really need my advice.
Not to mention that if they did take my antiquated, albeit “good enough for you when you were a kid and you survived” advice, they would stand out like a freak show among their peers. I mean, even if granny used to let me suck on a chicken leg bone that’s just not done nowadays. And if my kids allow their kids to eat some of the stuff I gave them to eat, their friends would report them to the “horrible and dangerous parent” police. I just found out last night that corn was on the list of dangerous choking hazard foods. Corn.
So, as I’m navigating this new grandparent land and wondering how to deal with feeding the grandkids, I’ll amend my previously successful guiding star of wisdom: “I want them to come home and bring the grandkids.”
I mean, is it really so important to me to push some foods on my grandkids that their parents don’t want them to have just to prove some kind of point and cause an argument or worse still, cause them not to trust me enough to leave my grandkids with me?
Heck to the no!
I want to be around them so much that I will lay down my pride and ask, “What would you like for them to eat.” Not a problem.
And I solemnly swear that I will not feed them any of the “danger foods” in secret. I do not want to lose their trust.
Relationship is more important than my pride.
But I would like to say for the record that I did raise 2 kids and we all survived. I do know what I’m doing, really. And I was allowed to do it my own way – so I guess I should allow my kids the same freedom.
So, give me that list of “danger foods” the avocado and quinoa and let’s do this!
Hope you all have a great weekend. I will be blasting you with blatant bragging 1st birthday pictures soon, just get ready to skip that post!