As some of you might know, I am originally from Costa Rica but I moved to the US when I my married my husband, who is from here. This means I left all my life and family behind to start a new life and family. I don’t regret it because I love my husband and my daughter but I do miss my family… I didn’t realize how much more important they would become now that I have a daughter, how much it would matter to me that my daughter has all 4 of her grandparents close to her.
as the best month of our lives. They were with her every day, singing, playing, buying her stuff, hugging, kissing and “spoiling” her all the time. They were awesome and she’s crazy about them. However, they are now gone and it breaks my heart that my daughter will grow up with a set of grandparents that live far away because I know what that feels like….
A bit of my background
I’ve always had a very close relationship with my parents, my mom is basically my best friend and I even run a business with my dad. However I was never too close to my grandparents.
My mom is Polish and my dad is Costa Rican, they met in Russia while getting their bachelor’s degrees. They fell in love and got married after 3 months of dating (and they are still happily married after 31 years!). Two years later my mom was pregnant and they decided to move to Costa Rica.
I was born and raised in Costa Rica. This meant I didn’t get to see much of my mom’s parents and I got to see a lot of my dad’s parents.
My mom’s parents were the perfect grandparents. They were always so loving, so proud of me, always getting me anything I wanted. After all, grandparents should “spoil” you! 🙂 I really loved them and even though there was a big distance between us I felt very close to them; although I wished many times they would live closer. Towards the end of their lives, unfortunately, I didn’t keep in touch as much as I should have. I was young and embarrassed that my Polish wasn’t that good anymore. Now that I’m a mom I realize they would have never cared if I spoke badly, they just loved me, no matter what.
My dad’s parents lived on the same property where I was raised. However, they were never really close to me. I honestly don’t remember them ever getting me a surprise, taking me on cool trips nor “spoiling” me, I don’t remember them hugging me or kissing me. I remember being in elementary school and not understanding why all my classmates would always come back from the weekend with awesome stories of what they did with their grandparents while I did nothing with mine. I had nothing to share.
I grew up wishing my mom’s parents lived closer to us and resentful towards my dad’s parents (they never knew this). I’m a grown woman now and I’ve healed my wounds but I do not want the same thing to happen to my daughter.
The importance of grandparents…
Not being close, emotionally and physically, to all 4 of my grandparents has made me realize I want something different for my daughter. I want her to grow in a family filled with love, were her grandparents can’t get enough of her and where she interacts with them a lot.
For this to be possible we need:
- Loving grandparents that will do anything for her/to be with her grandchild.
- Create a good relationship with the grandparents.
I’m pretty sure both of these are our reality but I want to make sure it stays this way.
So what am I hoping?
I hope my daughter has a great relationship with her grandparents; one that grows stronger as she gets older.
I believe grandparents are those people that love you a lot, unconditionally, just like parents. However, they don’t have the responsibility of a parent, which means they can “spoil” you even more, have fun with you, take you places, buy you gifts, entertain you and indulge you in any way possible. Not that you can’t do that with your parents, but it’s just different when you it comes to grandparents. Grandparents should be synonym of love and happiness. They should be the people that always want to see you and can never get enough of you. They should be my daughter’s favorite people and the people she will turn to when she needs advice as a teenage and doesn’t want to hear it from us.
I wondered if my dad’s parents never realized how much it hurt my feelings that they were there but not there.
Which is why, if you’re a grandparent reading this, I urge you to pick up the phone and call your grandchildren. Tell them how much you love them. Go buy some small gift, bring it over to their house, go out with your grandchildren or stay at home playing with them. Jump in a puddle, go to a zoo, run around in a park, kick balls, play in the sand, go in the merry go round, swing them until they are screaming from happiness, take them to their favorites places, read them books, sing songs, even if it means you have to sing it a million times because they love it, make silly faces, be fun, be playful, be silly and above all be loving. You are the representation of love, a big important part of a child’s life. Make sure they know they are loved, tell them, show them, hug and kiss them. Forget about disciplining them, put them first, enjoy them, laugh with them, show them the world, and discover new things with them. Be a grandparent.
I also know sometimes grandparents can’t be who they want to be because of the relationship they have with the parents. So if you think your relationship with your parents or in-laws might be getting in the way of their relationship with your children, step back and let them build a relationship. One that is independent from your own relationship with them. Your kids deserve to be surrounded by love and to be loved by as many people as possible.
It is all this love that will build happy, strong, confident and independent children.