The day my mum and mother in law, father and father in law, and stepmother and stepfather became a grandparent they were full of hope and expectation. They were going to gain a new lease on life from this delightful little darling that they didn’t have to spend every day with, wiping bottoms and feeding. They were finally, after years hearing about it from friends, and years of impatience and anticipation, joining the biggest club in the world… “The Grandparent’s Club”.
Being a part of The Grandparents Club came with a range of civil rights… there was no obligation, no commitment, no responsibility… except being cool and talking a lot with great pride about your newest family member. You could brag to your friends, show off photos you carry around with you in your handbag (or these days, on your phone) and you could call and request a visit to be when your best friends were coming over, so you could “show baby off”.
After almost thirty years of raising and feeding their own children, and finally setting them out to pasture (because one or two stayed in the nest a little longer than most), it was exciting to have a relative that didn’t need them to survive. Instead, they would be in the most desirable position of “Grandma” “Gramps” “Pa” “Nanna” “Nanny Fi” and “Poppo” when they came to my house [Yes, for a while there it was a bit confusing for young toddlers]. They were the person that automatically gets to ”hold the baby” from the moment they walk in the door, a person who gets tea and cake delivered to them in the chair that they are “holding the baby” in, and the one that gets to shop, encumbrance free, to buy as many gifts as disposable income and budget allow.
There was high expectations about the moment of joining the Grandparents Club. And with the first child, it probably didn’t disappoint. My husband tipped off all the grandparents as we headed to hospital in labour (thankfully it wasn’t a false alarm). My mother in law left home not long after I don’t think, and was waiting outside the hospital room for quite a few hours while I was in labour, anticipating the birth. The doctor walked in and out saying “She’s still there, asking keenly”. She was the first to enter the room after the birth, and certainly the first to have a cuddle after us, the mum and dad. Her diligent patience paid off. She had bragging rights forever more. My mum wasn’t far behind her, arriving with half a florists shop about an hour after… she too was proud to be early to the party. Joining this club was very very important.
For the grandads, they were a bit more aloof, but you could still see the pride on my dad’s face, and the incredible excitement on my father in law’s. They were part of the club… the club all parents dream of one day joining, “The Grandparents Club”. They would gingerly hold the baby, my dad competing to be the best at “sending the baby to sleep” and my father in law cracking jokes repeatedly about baby poo and how he would never ever change a nappy, and possibly never had despite having three grown kids of his own.
Ensconced in my newfound parenthood I wanted every one of my parents to delight in their grand parenting role. We spent plenty of time taking our firstborn to events with the family. They went out of their way to drop in at every possible opportunity, and frankly, they all built a terrific early bond with the only grandchild for several years on two out of three sides of the family.
Being a part of the club was good in the early days… very good.
Do you remember the day you joined The Grandparents’ Club? Was it special? Share it with us on the blog.