By Fatima Kazee, mum to a professor, a super hero and a little princess. Part-time wife to a fanatical fisherman. She’s addicted to sneakers, anything chocolatey & is an invaluable member of the Jozikids and Kznkids team.
My fondest memories as a child were at my grandmother’s house. It’s like a spontaneous warm and light feeling I get every time I think about her. She would take care of me every day after school until mum got back from work in the evening.
Of course times were different and we walked everywhere, playing in the streets till nightfall. The kids on the block would come to grans house for all the delicious food and treats she made so effortlessly. She allowed us to climb onto the roof of her house, play with mud and eat ‘ice-pops’ that made our teeth red! I remember her scent, her smile, how she loved Julio Iglesias and how she wouldn’t eat sweets the week she was going for her diabetes check-up. Of course, she also knew if my cousin or I were faking sickness just so we could stay home with her. And she knew when we were up to no good! We weren’t afraid of her; rather it was a great respect and love for her because she instilled many great qualities in us that I only appreciate now. I also fondly remember holidays at my paternal grandparents farm with all my cousins – so much fun playing, fishing, getting dirty with not a care in the world.
As an adult, I’ve become aware of the impact my gran had on me while I was growing up – having her live with us until she passed on was undoubtedly one of my life’s many gifts. And I see the value of grandparents with my kids too. Now I know what your first thoughts are… our kids get away with murder with our parents. Ice-cream before supper, yes sure my darling. Would you like sprinkles with that? How about you all stay up late watching TV tonight while mum and dad are out? I won’t tell if you don’t. Oh, you don’t like what mum cooked today? No worries, I’ll whip up a gourmet mac and cheese just for you so you don’t go hungry. Mum doesn’t want to get you those sneakers you’re dying for? I’ll just use my pension money to buy them for you.
Try disciplining your kids in front of the grandparents – “You really do shout too much. You need to calm down and give them a break” A break from what? The chores they were supposed to do that you said they could skip because they’re so tired from school? They were driven there and back! And what about all the cover-ups? When gran tries to cover up for your kids because she knows you’re going to lose your crap like it’s a crap-losing-competition. Oh yes, our kids are just the best and we as parents are really just too hard on them. Phhh…
Seriously though, the love and affection kids receive from their grandparents is priceless. It’s a different kind of caring, gentle, genuine and filled to the brim. I see how my mum in law has all the patience in the world with all her grandkids. They love her to bits because she always has time for them. They love sleepovers at her house because she will be up at the crack of dawn with them making pancakes and playing games.
Grandad is so wise; he tells them interesting stories and is still cool enough to run around with them on family outings. My daughter also loves having my mum come live with us now. (Me, I have my moments…) They embroider together, bake cookies and do all the things I really don’t have the inclination to do with her. Gran is also very creative which is a great help since I don’t have a creative bone in my body! Seeing my husband and I spending time with our parents will hopefully teach them the importance of parents and family when we’re old. I’m so glad my kids have the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents while they’re still not that old. They’ll have just as cherished memories as I do and have the best kind of love possible.
Do you have great memories with your grandparents? Please share them with us.