People assume with 5 grown kids that we are grandparents, but they would be wrong. It’s currently something that pleases both of us as we have enjoyed that every single one of them has taken on some combination of careers, adventures, travel and are taking their time to nurture relationships with some incredible people. We are in no rush and absolutely have plenty on our own agenda that makes us perfectly content watching them live their lives as they are right now. However, we also recognize that’s it’s on the horizon and something we struggle with as a factor in our decision to settle on a retirement relocation. Where do we fit Grandparenting into our future?
On one hand we have a group of friends who continue to live close to their kids and have even relocated to be closer to those who have moved away; all so they can play an every day role in their adult children’s lives. They do things like provide daycare and are ever present for holidays and birthdays. They seem quite happy in these roles. Their social media is packed regularly with adorable pictures and we enjoy watching these multi generational timelines evolve from newborn shots to proms.
We have other friends that have moved to the Carolinas, some to Florida and even a few farther west. They retired, packed up and sold the family home and now call snow something they might see on a ski vacation or a holiday return trip to the Tri- State area. They celebrate their investments and spend their pensions with endeavors like golf games, Pickleball and all kinds of cocktail related adventures. Some have amazing new, ginormous homes, but most have modest, quainter versions of where they hosted things in Delaware or Pennsylvania. Like us, smaller is more manageable and few in our age range dream about mowing lawns, cleaning multiple bathrooms or paying utilities that cost more than rent in our college apartments.
We talk about it and find ourselves feeling that the later seems to fit our lifestyle more closely. Having raised our kids with no help, save the family of friends who switched babysitting duties or the rare friend without kids, who thankfully seemed happy to practice with ours. We have raised five extremely independent humans who rarely, after getting a driver’s license, wanted input from us on a daily basis. I say that in no way judging those people who have amazing daily relationships with their adult kids; it’s just not likely a good fit for us.
Alas, I think we want to be the big ticket, memory maker grandparents. We are the ones that will have grandkids that annoy our kids to find a way to come see us every time they have a school vacation . We will do our best to go back when and if we are ever needed. Yet, when we take the grandkids in our sunshine filled home, spoil them unbearably for the precious time they spend with us, we can grow old as the grandparents who might not have shown for each birthday, but damn if we didn’t make the best memories . Now, the unmanageable mental energy to decide what the hell we’d want to be called as grandparents ?!?!