Can you tell whether you’re going to have the “grandmother gene” before you become a grandmother? That’s the gene that turns you into a cooing, cuddling, calming, cheering, chuckling lady, who can’t get enough of your grandchildren.
“I’m obsessed with him,” my friend Terry told me about her toddler grandson. A loving wife and mother of one son, Terry’s had a successful advertising career, now owns an online vintage apparel shop, and is soon launching a style consulting service. So while she knew she’d fall in love with her grandson the moment she laid eyes on him, she never dreamed she’d be so consumed with him. “I can’t get enough of him,” she laughed.
My sister Shelley also uses the word “obsessed” when she talks about her feelings for her four-year-old grandson, Sammy. He gives her pure and absolute joy. Shelley couldn’t wait to be a grandmother, and jokes that she loves her grandson more than her own sons. “Maybe it’s because I can go home at the end of the day,” she said.
My friend Hane has babysat for her toddler grandson since he was an infant, traveling almost an hour to her daughter’s house as often as three times a week. “Maybe I love doing it because I wasn’t a devoted mother,” Hane told me.
Lately, my Facebook timeline has been packed with as many gushing posts of grandchildren as of cats and dogs. Boomers are becoming grandparents by the droves, and proudly show off their grandkids moments after they enter the world, and at every milestone.
When these posts pop up in my timeline, I pass right by them. I adore many of the women who are gushing grandmothers, and I hope these children delight them all the days of their lives, but I’d rather see a kitty opening a kitchen cabinet than a six-month-old smearing bananas over his high chair.
So what’s wrong with me? I love my 5-year-old grandson with every fiber in my body. I’ve dropped everything many times to be with him when my daughter couldn’t leave work or had other issues that prevented her from staying home with him when he was sick or on vacation. He’s spent many weekends at my house. I think he’s a great-looking kid, and sharp as a whip. I adore the photos of him that his parents post to a private album.
I’d lay down my life for him in a nanosecond.
BUT, I’m not so obsessed with my grandson that I must share his comings and goings with anyone outside of our family. Why do they care when he took his first step, said his first word, hit his first baseball? Does it make me a better grandmother if I do share?
Multitudes of young mothers post so many photos of their kids on Facebook pages that I sometimes think it’s their way of validating their motherhood. Sure, they might be marvelous mothers, but is something else at play here?
If grandmothers overshare, is it for the same reason?
Am I overthinking this? Am I guilty because I don’t do the same? Am I an under par grandmama?
I’d love to read your comments.