Grandparents… by JoAnn

An older couple standing next to each other.

Being a parent to my three daughters has been the most important job I have ever had. It is the one I am most proud of the successes and the one I have the most regrets for mistakes made and things left undone. With it, I have experienced every single emotion known to the human spirit. Some days have been long, and challenging, and some have been short and sweet. But every day spent being a parent has been filled with love. Pure love!

There is something so different about being a grandparent. There are many words to describe it, but the first one that always comes to mind is JOY. Ah, yes, the pure love is definitely there too. It’s the foundation that is already in place for the relationship between grandparent and grandchild to grow. What seems to be so different is the easiness of it all.

When kids are growing, parents have so much responsibility. It really is quite overwhelming and all-consuming. But in a good way. Still, it is a hard job. One that we would not trade for anything in the world, but nevertheless, it can be difficult.

When you become a grandparent, it’s no longer challenging. Everything is easy! The responsibilities aren’t there. All you have to do is love that grandchild, which is the easiest thing you will ever do. And what a joy. Pure JOY.

I have been blessed with two granddaughters and one grandson. Just thinking of them brings a smile to my soul. I am so very blessed to have them in my life. I also strive to be a blessing in theirs.

Growing up, I was the youngest girl of a very long line of grandchildren on both sides of my family. By the time I was born, my only living grandfather, my daddy’s dad “Pop,” was already in his late 70s. My only grandmother, my mama’s mom’s “Grandma,” was already in her late 80s. Unfortunately, Pop had dementia. I only remember seeing him a couple of times in my young life. I never got to know him as a man or as a grandparent. I didn’t understand at the time, but I knew in my heart that he should be an important part of my life, and I was clearly missing out on something. I knew Grandma a little more. Her mind was clear, but she was bedridden. We visited a couple of times a month, but being so young, Grandma’s situation was a little scary to me. So I never had the chance just to sit down and talk with her and get to know her as a woman.

When I had my own children, it was essential to me that they knew their grandparents. I wanted my girls to know each of their grandparents as individuals and have good relationships with them. I thought it was so important that they had what I clearly missed out on.

I am happy to say that my dream for my children was fulfilled the best it could be. My two oldest daughters have the most memories of all four grandparents. My youngest didn’t get to enjoy her two grandmothers and her grandfather (my dad) for as long. Fortunately, they still have their grandpa Tommy Hale. He means the world to them, and I could not be prouder of the grandparent he has always been to my girls! They were even blessed with a special grandmother Jerilyn, who they have come to love just as much as any grandparent.

What’s really wonderful is that my grandchildren have gotten to know their grandparents on both sides and even some of their great-grandparents. I couldn’t be happier! They may not understand the importance of it all right now, but someday they will. There will be a part of their hearts that will be complete because of it. If they have their own children, they will understand even more. What a blessing.