Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Treat them like your grandchildren.

Have you ever had an unlikely conversation? Like standing in line at the DMV, or the Grocery store, or waiting for one of your kids activities to end. Some of the best advice I have ever been given was one of those unlikely conversations.

The other day at the Health Club I wasn't feeling great and the place was super crowded. A given this time of year as all the people who make a New Year's resolution to workout sign-up for the year but show up for a month. I was ready to walk out, but with both kids at school at least for a few hours I was determined to get some exercise that did not involve my vocal chords. I got on the treadmill that overlooks my husband kid's gym where he teaches and watched him work.

It was kinda nice because I don't even watch when our kids are in class. Having mom watching and dad teaching seems to make them misbehave even more. Not knowing anyone gave me the freedom to just enjoy the view. What a view it was!

There was my husband in the middle of a circle of 8 little girls all dressed in various pink leotards and hair accessories. They were showing him their nails, their tutu's, and talking about their boyfriends. (These are 3-4 year-olds by the way) And of course he was in full swing, gushing over their nails and showing off his own, twirling in his sweat pants, and giving them all a good talking to about boyfriends.

A grandmother came up and got on the treadmill next to me and asked which one was mine. I said very sweetly, "The tall, dark, and hairy one with the booming voice." She laughed and told me what a great teacher and person my husband is and how lucky I am. I agreed whole heartily.

We chatted the way you do when you are on treadmills and watching children's gymnastics. But something she said struck me. She said her grandchildren were just even more amazing then her own children. I remarked how so many grandparents have mentioned that being with their grandchildren is so much more fun than raising their own children was because their can give them back. She smiled and said, "My mother died when I was very young, and my grandmother always told me, don't wait for your grandchildren, enjoy your own children. Treat them like your grandchildren."

What a wonderful idea! My grandmothers, though very very different, where my best friends. In there eyes I could do anything! I could sing like a Nightingale, dance like a Prima ballerina, perform like Judy Garland, and I was smarter than any child they had ever met. Whatever I wanted to become that day they backed me 100%. And when I threw one of my famous fits, they would tell me how disappointed they were in my behavior - I was better than that. They were grandmothers, friends, confidant, supporters; and they were my soft place to land.

This woman's comment struck a chord with me, because if I could give my children what my grandmothers gave to me, that's more than I could ever hope.

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