Just for today there will be a change of focus due to my recently becoming a grandmother for the third time! I am affectionately known as “Nannie”. Being a grandmother adds a new dimension to life. It is wonderful!
Our new grandson is the second child for my daughter, who lives four hours away from us in northeast Victoria, Australia. Luckily, my son and daughter-in-law live close by and they have a beautiful baby daughter. My husband and I are Pa and Nannie to three gorgeous grandchildren.
Families are unquestionably the backbone of our society. Their strengths and resources are there to be drawn on as needed. I was lucky enough to love and respect my in-laws and they were invaluable when we brought up our own children. They accepted the role of babysitter, happily gave advice when needed, and generally loved their grandchildren unconditionally. I came to appreciate the value of the extended family. What more could I ask for?
My presence was requested a few days prior to my grandson’s birth; to be there to care for my granddaughter while her parents were at the hospital. My being there took the pressure off my daughter. She later commented that she wasn’t worried at all, knowing that my granddaughter was in my care. I had put my own busy life on hold to enjoy “the joys” of being “Nannie”.
What about couples who do not have family to call on? Most parents would love some assistance in child rearing. Maybe friends or neighbours could step in to lend a hand. They may be happy to babysit or cook a much appreciated meal. My favourite recipes were requested to be cooked and frozen, ready for the baby’s arrival. I filled my daughter’s freezer with soup, cutlets, patties and meals ready for those occasions when there is no time for cooking. These preparations helped my daughter feel organized. Receiving support is essential in running a household with a baby.
I easily slotted into the “Nannie” role, being obliging and willing to assist in any way required of me. Whether you are the parent or the in-law, you need to be a bit careful not to be opinionated and tell them what to do! I can remember a friend’s mother-in-law would visit and, as soon as she arrived, would move the furniture around!! It did not endear her to her daughter-in-law! Through my own experience I have found the best approach is to just ask how they need help and support.
I feel blessed to be part of my children’s lives and able to make their lives easier. Sometimes it may not be simple to set aside “your” time to be there when needed, but for me family comes first and everything else can wait. In my experience, employers, clients, friends and colleagues have understood totally and have supported my decision to be there for my family.
Having a new baby is a happy occasion for all to embrace. It is special to be part of the celebrations and part of the support network! We have so much love to give and babies thrive with love! Love abounds for all to enjoy!!