I saw a wonderful quote about how a grandmother’s duty isn’t just to give presents, but to be present in her grandchildren’s life. It made me think about all the wonderful ways our mothers enrich our kids’ lives. A grandmother’s presence is really the best present.
7 Ways a Grandmother’s Presence is the Best Present to Her Grandkids
We all know that grandmothers give the best gifts! Handing out material goodies, though, is far from her greatest contribution to our children’s lives. In fact, if you ask your kids what grandma means to them, I bet “she gives us cool stuff” won’t even be near the top of the list.
Okay, so maybe it will, depending on your child’s age. As they get older, though, they’ll learn to appreciate all the other wonderful things she did for them simply by being present. What things? Why, I’m so glad you asked! Let’s discuss.
1. Supporting her grandchildren
Perhaps the most important role of a grandmother is supporting her grandchildren. No, not financially (although sometimes she does do that, too). Just by letting them know that she’s behind them through thick and thin, our kids know that they always have someone else in their corner besides us.
2. Supporting us when we need it
Along with supporting our kids, our moms (and even mother-in-laws) provide support to us, as well. Again, I’m not talking about money. She offers support by babysitting, by talking through tough decisions with us, by giving advice when we need it (and even when we don’t want it). She knows that by helping us, she’s helping her grandkids, too.
3. Guiding our kids’ moral compass
We parents have a monumental job in making sure our kids’ moral compass always points true north. When our own parents’ beliefs jive with ours, it makes the job a lot easier. It’s always good to have backup! Besides, sometimes we can come off as sounding “preachy” or judgmental to our kids. Grandmothers have a gentle way of saying the exact same thing that we said that just seems to make it sink in better.
4. Offering a place of solace
Grandmother’s house is always a place of respite and solace, especially when our kids are mad at us. Hey, it happens! We’re not perfect, after all. It’s reassuring to both us and our children to know that they always have a safe haven. Grandma is like Switzerland, too. She doesn’t take sides (no matter how much we want her to choose ours), but she’s always on both of our sides, if that makes sense.
5. Keeping our kids connected to the past
I believe I mentioned this before when we were talking about how living near grandparents is the best gift we can give our kids. I’ll mention it again, though. One of a grandmother’s most important duties of all is giving our children a deep, tangible connection to the past. Through her, our kids learn not only about our rich family history, but about the past as a whole. There’s no better way to absorb history lessons than by linking it to real stories. For example, reading about women gaining the right to vote isn’t the same as hearing your grandmother tell you what it felt like when that right was added to the Constitution.
6. Teaching our kids
Every grandmother has something valuable to teach their grandchildren. I’m not just talking about “stereotypical” skills, either. After all, not all grandmothers know how to cook or sew. Some may teach our kids how to change a tire! Still others may teach kids the lost art of letter writing. Like learning about the past, new skills taught by grandma sink in better because our kids associate the lesson with love.
7. Just being present for them when they need her most
All of the above comes down to one very important thing- just being present through thick and thin. Grandmothers have a way of being completely and totally present when they’re with our kids. They’re not thinking about what’s for dinner, or paying the bills, or trying to juggle 50 things at once. They take the time to be there in mind, body, and spirit. Grandmothers give our kids the most unconditional love possible, plain and simple.
A grandmother’s presence truly is the best present she gives to our kids. Ask anyone who has lost her, and I bet they’ll agree. They’d give back every last physical gift she ever gave them if it meant one more moment with her. The good news is, according to one major study, our kids actually have more time with their grandmothers than any generation before them. Make sure you give them plenty of opportunities to use that extra time, even if it’s just over the phone or through Facetime. They’ll thank you for it later, I promise.