kids

"To all of you who help us raise our kids, thank you": An ode to grandparents.

Monday in Victoria was a public holiday, and while my husband took our girls to the movies, I perused the shelves at Kmart.

As I was filling my hands, and then arms, with unnecessary items, and rethinking my decision to forgo the cinema to ‘save money’, I saw something that made me glad I did.

Side Note: Here are all the things Mums never hear. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

While investigating the difference between two bronzers, I heard the voice of an older man at the end of the aisle.

“Would you like a baby chick lollipop or a bunny lollipop?” He asked the young girl who was sitting in his trolley, while holding up two Easter-themed pieces of confectionary with a huge smile on his face.

“And what about you?” He asked the boy, about four years old, who was standing next to him.

He then repeated the question a further two times as two other children, about six and seven, came walking up from behind the trolley.

The man, who was obviously their grandpa, chatted away as he negotiated the pros and cons of the baby chick and bunny, and made this public holiday excursion to the shopping centre as fun and lively as it could possibly be for four young kids.

As I discreetly (I hope) observed the scene, I smiled.

This ordinary moment made me happy because not only was it beautiful to see, it also reminded me of all the things that so many grandparents do to help their own kids – now adults – raise their children.

And it made me wonder how some of us would ever do it without them.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here are just some of the things they do that I’m eternally grateful for.

Grandparents are often unpaid babysitters (and the best babysitters)

They’re always on call when the kids are sick and can’t go to school or kinder or day-care.

They will put their own plans on the backburner, drop other commitments and open their lives and arms to their grandkids, not only looking after them but also making our lives as working parents a lot less stressful.

All while delivering the highest pedigree of child care you can find, because they truly care for and love their clients.

It’s true, grandparents will always ensure their grandchildren are not only looked after but also adequately spoiled. They will read to them, take them on adventures (even if it is just in the back garden) and always make sure their tummies are full.

Grandparents are wise and full of experiences

They somehow seem to know everything, and have the best stories. Everything from technology (“I remember our first television, we had one station and it was in black and white”) through to space (“we watched the first man walk on the moon.”)

They share their tales openly with wide-eyed grandchildren, the most receptive and excitable audience.

They offer an unmatchable and unique kind of love

One of the things I remember most about my own grandparents was that their affection was unrivalled and so specific to them.

There was a special bond between them and me, and it was different again for their other grandchildren.

Their hugs were warmer, their kisses softer, they were always gentle and patient, and they were never in a hurry, always taking the time to listen and just be with us.

Whatever you said to them was “wonderful” and “amazing”, your achievements were “extraordinary”, your questions were answered with real and authentic consideration.

No matter what, you were number one.

So, to the Kmart Grandpa and all the other grandparents out there that do so much to help us – thank you. It does not go unnoticed and it will never be forgotten.

Shona Hendley, Mother of goats, cats and humans is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education. She is an animal lover and advocate. You can follow her on Instagram.

00:00 / ???