Today was Grandparents’ Day at school. Grandparents’ Day brings forth so many emotions. I miss my grandparents. I still feel like I should be able to pick up the phone and ask questions.
- How do I make sure my children are always friends?
- How do I find time to do it all?
- How do you keep them from rolling their eyes?
- Remember the time we were at camp and we sang that song about the Bahama girl? What were the words?
- How do you play (I could put the names of thousands of games here – right now I’m trying to remember the one with the pennies)?
- Who was the one guy who sang that one song?
- How was it when you were my age?
So. many. questions. I miss my grandparents. I also miss my children’s grandparents. Not the same way, of course, but I miss that they are far away. I miss that them when it’s Grandparents’ Day. I miss them when it’s any day. I miss that they can’t just take the kids to McDonald’s. I miss the day-to-day for them – for my kids and for my parents.
Having all of that heavy on my heart today, I spent the day “entertaining” my preschoolers and their grandparents. I watched. I listened. It was a good day.
To give you a little perspective, I need to explain something. Preschool teachers do not like special days that involve extra adults. While it is great to do special things with the kids from time to time, any change in the routine breeds stress for little folks. Add to that the “uncontrollableness” of parents and you’ve got a preschool teacher’s nightmare. Parties with parents wear me out. You are never sure of your role. Do you correct a child when his mother/father is right there? If you do, will he be offended? Will she think you think she isn’t a good mother? Will he think that was a silly thing to correct? What if you don’t correct? Will the parents think that you don’t care? that bad behavior is okay with you? So. many. mind. games. ugh. Then, there is the stress of planning the party. What if no one “gets” the activities? How do you come up with things that are fun for kids and parents? What if the parents don’t help? What if they help too much? What if they think your classroom is too clean/messy? too full/empty? too artsy/academic? You’re getting it now. Stressful. Add to it that young children are not always their best when their parents are present. Sweet, well-mannered children can morph into wildcats right before your eyes! AHHHHHHHH!
Today was not like that. It was good. Grandparents’ Day is not crazy. Kids behave (mostly). Grandparents behave (mostly). Grandparents don’t judge so much. Grandparents appreciate you. Grandparents don’t compare every detail of every child. Grandparents let the right things go. Grandparents fight the necessary battles. Ahh. I left work today physically tired (too much of the jumping song) but my brain was not so worn out. I left work with this question.
How can I be more of a “grandparent” now? How can I compare less? judge less? appreciate more? let more go? battle more effectively? I know that grandparents possess a wisdom that comes only with experience. I also know that modeling (or providing a good example) is a great teaching strategy. Today’s grandparents. My memories of my grandparents. The wisdom of my parents. Those are my models, my good examples. I’m watching. I’m listening. I’m learning.