Perhaps it is the sepia wash of nostalgia, but is Grandma’s house not the safest, most pleasant place on earth? Grandmas are soft and smell sweet no matter what brand of perfume they wear. Grandpas are at beck and call to tell stories or read books. The food is perfect… made to order every time! Baths always have bubbles, no one is too busy for stupid questions, and if you want to hang out in your PJs all day, then fine!
They think you are the Bee’s Knees! The most brilliant, beautiful, kind, perfect thing to ever walk the earth. No longer on the hamster wheel of homework, baths, science projects, dentist and doctor appointments, Grandma and Grandpa are focused in on being GRAND and not parents.
Perhaps it is a means to thumb their noses at their own children as they dole out childhood contraband: cokes, cookies, candy, apple tarts, and unlimited bowls of ice cream. No reminders about vegetables or the threat of scurvy. Or maybe they’ve mellowed with age. I know I find myself muttering, “You let him/her get away with that? I’d STILL be grounded if I had done x-y-z when I was their age!” WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? And where are MY parents? The ones who weren’t afraid to ground someone for LIFE.
So is it any wonder that we think of them the same way that we think of them, our grandparents? As perfection in the form of gray-haired, wrinkled, wise old souls. I’m sure my own parents remember them with less rosy lenses, just as my parents will be remembered as far more perfect beings by my kids than I will ever credit them with being. Though I will concede they get smarter every year and also made better decisions in hindsight than I gave them credit for at the time. But I will never admit it in front of them!
Of course our parents love us with all our hearts, but grandparents are a soft place to fall. They aren't responsible for providing the discipline and tough love that ultimately make you into a responsible grown-up.
I always knew my grandparents wouldn’t be here forever. They were ALWAYS old for pete's sake. But I miss them, their gentle love and wisdom... and their rose-colored view of me. Having someone love you for who you are and everything you have the potential to become is a pretty awesome gift, served up with a homemade chocolate chip cookie and an ice cold can of Pepsi.