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Grandparenting is an opportunity to fall in love again and to appreciate the magic of a developing mind.

What's so great about grandparenting?

Here's our favorite grandparenting story - so far...

We babysat for our seven year old granddaughter and our oh-so-two year old grandson over Labor Day Weekend. Their parents wanted to watch the UK-UL game without interruptions for juice, naps, diaper changes and sibling brouhahas.

They went out. We had the kids. Being experienced grandparents (I even took pediatric first aid to prepare to be a GM), we anticipated no problems. The first issue to be addressed would be supper.

When our granddaughter suggested a restaurant in Frankfort that she assured me served food that the whole family likes, it sounded like a great idea. I thought we could take a little ride, show off our beautiful well mannered grandchildren to the other lucky patrons at Johnny Carinos and avoid the joy of cooking. Kid food usually involves macaroni and cheese that has a nasty habit of getting stuck up in Owen’s hair. We’ll eat out, tip well, and let someone else worry about the table and the floor after we slink out, I thought.

I should have known better. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the popular Italian restaurant, Sarah pointed to one of the ubiquitous white SUVs parked there and said, “That’s my mommy’s car.”  Foolishly, I didn't believe her- I can’t tell one SUV from another, surely a seven year old can’t either.

Surely they can.

When the hostess seated the four of us in a quiet side dining area, there on the other side of a half glassed wall sat Mommy and Daddy drinking grown up beverages, munching appetizers and watching the Cats slay the Cards,.

“That’s my Mommy!!” Owen yelled and slipped the bounds of elder care. Both children made a beeline to Mommy and Daddy’s table.  They acted amused by our winding up at the same place as they, given the multitude of choices in the Bluegrass. Distributing pats and hugs, they firmly directed them back to Grandma and Grandpa's table.

When we finally got the children in their seats, dinner proceeded more or less uneventfully. There were a few glitches.  Owen got stuck with his butt hanging out of the back of his chair, the front end on the seat and the oral end yelling.  I wasn’t much help to my husband getting him out.  I was laughing too hard. Other than that and the little guy's attempt to escape into the bowels of Carino’s kitchen, it was a typical dinner with small children. 

The staff kept coming by our tables to show us off. They would point to us and say, “They’re babysitting for them.” Then they would point to my son’s table and laugh.

It’s a memory we’ll cherish and will tell endlessly as the children grow older. Maybe it’s my imagination, but grandparenting seems to be much more fun for my generation we thought it would be.

I am fascinated by the whole generational thing. What is it about being a grandparent? What turns otherwise rational adults in slobbering mounds just because one's child produces a child?

Here’s what the experts say:

“….In no particular order grandparenting is an opportunity to play, to 'fall in love' again, and to appreciate the magic of a developing mind. Grandparents can share the things they're passionate about with a new audience; see the world in a new way through younger eyes… from Grandparenting Tips: Building Good Relationships 

We'll be exploring the world of children, their parents, and yes, their grandparents as time goes by. Grandparenting in the twenty first century is a far cry from GP'ing in earlier times. There are changes in childcare, discipline, health issues and a whole lot of grandparents taking on the role of parents. A startling number of grandparents are bringing up grandchildren because there is no other choice. 

Got your own grandparenting story? We’d love to hear it. Share it at editor@westkyjournal.com

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