Grandparents’ love constant

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
One of the side effects of our lockdown, here and across the world, has been the enforced separation of grandparents and grandchildren in an effort to keep grandparents safe, writes Ian Munro.

Ian Munro
Ian Munro
Age-related social-distancing and living in separate bubbles has been the norm.

The move to Alert Level 3, which allowed us to expand our bubble a little, was joyously taken advantage of by our family.

Grandparenting today is a far cry from what I experienced as a child. My grandparents lived in their early 1900s time warp in their age-appropriate way. They boiled the copper on Mondays for washing, made their own soap, tended the roses, remained mostly at home and looked after us when we came to stay.

Today’s grandparents aren’t necessarily a constant in the lives of their off-spring’s off-spring, with their extended family no longer necessarily living in the same country let alone the same town. They don’t live in a "quaint" 20th century past and may even be grandparenting from a modern Gold Coast apartment.

But wherever they are, most have needed to embrace the 21st century to keep in touch — whether it be by mastering Skype or WhatsApp or, until recently, hopping on and off planes.

This has meant that, over the last half century, the nature of the grandparenting relationship has changed. However, no matter what the changes, the need by children to have a grandparent in their lives remains a constant. There’s nothing better for a child than to have someone who loves them just because they exist.

Grandparents don’t have to train and discipline them, nag them about their homework or live with them day in and day out. They can spoil them without turning them into spoiled brats; they can listen to their moans about home without having to do anything about it. And they usually have that bit more time so they’re not constantly saying, "not now".

They’re probably the only people able to wait for the unfunny punchline for a long-winded joke and still laugh heartily.

Grandparents can have a hundred and one good ideas born of experience and an answer for all the questions, because they’re ‘‘so old’’.

Grandparents also provide a link with the past. They know about life before computers, television even, when milk was delivered in bottles, posties blew a whistle and there was a corner store that sold unwrapped, unsliced bread. They can give the lowdown on Mum or Dad — and they have the photographic evidence.

Grandparents also provide a link to the history of uncles and aunts and the wider family and have created many of the traditions and celebrations that make your family unique and special.

Every child should have some.

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