It was the end of a long day in the garden for hubby as he put his beds to sleep for winter and a long day for me going through all of my office files and moving an ugly wooden file cabinet out of my bedroom and up the stairs into my little office on the stair landing. We had moved all the patio furniture into the shelter of the porch and finished the process of getting it ready for winter. We both were basking in the success of a well organized day. We had just stuffed ourselves on spaghetti Bolognese with a side of garden vegetables while we were waiting for NPR news to start on TV when hubby turned to me and leaning forward asked:
"Do you think you will treat grandchildren differently from your new daughter-in-law than you do for those from your daughter?"
I thought for a minute and realized that indeed I probably would.
I know my daughter intimately and while I allow her to raise her children as she wants, I do sometimes offer just a little advice when I think she needs guidance. I also stretch the rules just a little when they are alone with me. With my daughter-in-law, if they are lucky enough to have children, I will stand back more and wait for her actions to help me. I already love her, but I only 'think' I know her. She is very close to both her mother and her grandmother...my role will be much smaller.
I will live closer to them geographically, so I hope they feel free to call on us for babysitting and child-watching. I feel strongly that is my biological role in life. I cannot explain. but being a grandmother is a calling in my book. I think it goes to the deep root of reproduction that is the core of most of us.
As I pondered on my husband's unusual question, I realized I had never given thought to how different these two families would be in my life. I accept that our relationship with our children colors so many things that happen in their lives. So tell me, if you have children of both sexes, who marry and have children of their own...does it make a difference in your relationship with the grandchildren? I am not asking if you love more or less, that I know is stupid. I am just asking about your philosophy in providing guidance to the children and interacting with them and their parents on a subtle and small scale.