People ask me all the time how I feel about being a Grandma (or in my case a "Nonna"). My answer is this. I thought having children was about the best thing that could ever happen to me. That's all I ever wanted to do. Even as a young child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always "a mother."
The idea of being a grandmother never entered my mind. Maybe it was because I could never imagine myself being THAT old. But here I am, many years later, Nonna to three beautiful grandchildren. And let me tell you, it's a wonderful, beautiful, magical thing.
My two sons are in constant awe of my husband and I when they observe us with the grandkids. They look at each other in astonishment and say "Who are these people??" They'll start by citing the "flashlight" example. When they were growing up and wanted to play with our flashlights, their dad would go into great detail as to why that wasn't a good idea. They quote him, "If you play with it now and run the battery down, then when we need to use it, it won't work. Don't play with the flashlight!" And this is usually followed by the "McDonald's" example. If the boys didn't like what we were having for dinner and asked for something else, they were told, "You don't see any golden arches over our house do you? This isn't a restaurant so eat what's in front of you."
Needless to say, our grandchildren don't have to follow these same rules. Flashlights are always available for play and we have been known to prepare something special when the dinner menu doesn't quite suit their taste. That's the fun of being a grandparent. Although we try to enforce the same rules as their parents, we can (and do) stretch the boundaries a little. And the best part is that we do it with a clear conscience! After all, isn't spoiling your grandkids part of the job description?
So, what is it like being a grandma? Adjectives like happy, joyful, delighted, proud, fulfilled, silly, tender, tolerant and exhausted come to mind. There's a Welsh proverb that says "Perfect love sometimes does not come until grandchildren are born." I think that pretty much says it all. Oh, and there's another important perk that comes with the job. You get the satisfaction of knowing that your children finally understand what you went through raising them. And with that understanding comes compassion and respect.