I became a grandparent when I was only 47. It was six years ago now.
At the time I was working six days a week running a business, which demanded I take calls day and night. I was also responsible for the day to day management of the business, the clients and other services it offered.
What kind of a grandmother would I be?
In those times, I spent most of my time in jeans and boots, training dogs.
I didn’t knit. I didn’t bake. I didn’t even know how to tie my hair up in a bun!
What kind of grandparent was I supposed to be?
And, to be honest I didn’t have time to be a fully present grandparent.
What Do Todays Grandparents Actually Look Like?
I had to ask myself some pretty hard questions:
How was I supposed to behave?
Did I need to change what I did, how I looked, or what I said?
I hadn’t changed a nappy for 25 years, and I wasn’t sure I knew how to do it anymore. Is that something you never forget to do like riding a bicycle?
More importantly, what would this new human being think of me? Would I disappoint him? Would he even like me?
Should I try to force him to like me? How did one do that? With gifts or candy? Both?
No, that seemed fake. I had to discover a new way.
Where Were My Role Models?
My parents were still alive and quite healthy when I became a grandparent. They lived thousands of miles away, and weren’t much support at all. What I wanted was someone to tell me what to do, and what to think.
I looked around for role models and found them hard to find. Other friends who were much older than me were great grandparents, but they lived a different kind of life.
Where could I go to find a role model that spoke to me, and to whom I identified with?
The Changing Role of Grandparents
I was born in the early 1960s. My grandparents had been born in the early 1900s. I can’t even imagine what their lives must have been like.
When we immigrated to Australia in the 1970’s I was never to see them or have contact with them again. I have a photo of my paternal grandmother taken on her 90th birthday, but nothing else.
Even today I feel that these people, who I owe my genes and history to, are almost as remote and distant to me as strangers I pass on the street. I know who they were, but I don’t know them. I also feel that they don’t know me because I wasn’t a part of their lives.
I didn’t want this to continue. Never before in the history of the world have grandparents been given so many opportunities. We cannot be defined by our age, gender or social status.
We have access to the internet, we are fitter, stronger and wealthier than any other generation of grandparents in the history of the world.
I don’t know about other young grandparents reading this, but I’m going to use these things and more to create better relationships with my grandkids than I experienced. I think we all deserve it.
And that’s why I wrote my book Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing
I want to help other grandparents become empowered to build strong relationships with their grandkids. I want them to be mentors and to offer support, and best of all, I want them to create memories which will last a life time.
About Susan Day
Susan Day is a passionate author, avid blogger and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. Discover the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.