You say ‘no candy’ and yet your kids come home with chocolate on their faces. You say ‘no tv’ yet they talk about watching “Golden Girls” with grandma. It seems like every time the kids hit grandma’s, rules just go OUT the window and it can be really frustrating…
until I read this. Here’s a mom’s heart-throbbing open letter to the grandma who wouldn’t say ‘no,’ and it may just change your perspective forever: You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything!
A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck.How I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn’t spoil my children.
I was afraid you’d make them into “selfish brats” if you gave them everything they wanted. Because you fulfilled their wishes as soon as they opened their lips and pointed, I worried they’d never learn to wait, take turns, or share.
You held each of my children long after they had fallen asleep. Didn’t you realize I needed them to learn to sleep on their own? You dashed to them as soon as they made the slightest noise. How would they ever learn to soothe themselves?
I disliked you for getting the most expensive and extravagant gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. How am I supposed to compete with you? What do you think it’s like to know that the best gifts, the ones they’ll be most enthusiastic about, aren’t from their parents?
And how they loved afternoons spent with you. You made their favorite things for dinner — three different meals for three different boys. And you always had a little surprise. A present, candy, or a special treat.
I didn’t want them to associate you with gifts and sweets. I thought they should love you for you. I tried to tell you this, but you wouldn’t listen. You continued to indulge them in every way possible.
I spent a lot of time wondering why you did all these things and how I could get you to ease up. I know grandmothers are supposed to “spoil the kids,” then send them home, but you were… ridiculous.
Until you were gone. I had to hold my boys and tell them that their grandma died. It didn’t seem possible. You were supposed to be there for all the other special moments: proms, graduations, weddings. But they lost their grandma too soon and too suddenly. They were not ready to say goodbye to you.
During those years when I wished you’d stop spoiling them, I never thought about how much you loved them, so much that you showed it in every way possible. Your cooking. The gifts. The candy and sweets. Your presence. The way you could recount every detail of a special moment, whether it was a perfect catch in the outfield or a sweet and slightly off-key note sung at a school concert.
Your Godly and grandmotherly love for them knew no bounds. Your heart poured love from every place possible — your kitchen, your pocketbook, your words, and your tireless arms.
It’s pointless to dwell on regrets, but I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity. My kids, now in their teens, miss you dearly. And they don’t miss your gifts or your money. They miss you. They miss running to greet you at the door and hugging you before you could step in. They miss looking up at the bleachers and seeing you, one of their biggest fans, smiling and enthralled to catch their eye. They miss talking to you and hearing your words of wisdom, encouragement, and love.
If I could speak to you one more time, I would tell you that every time a precious moment steals my heart, every time I watch them arrive at a new milestone, and every time they amaze me with their perseverance, talents, or triumphs, I think of you. And I wish that they could have you back.
Come back and love them one last time, like no one else in the world but a grandmother could. Bring your sweets and surprises. Reward them with gifts for the smallest accomplishments. Painstakingly prepare their favorite meals. Take them anywhere they want to go. All and only because you love them.
Oh, how I wish with my whole heart that you could come back. Sit for endless hours in the bleachers with me. Come back and watch his determined stance, his all-out effort, and his anxious rituals. We could study my boy’s face, and both know without a doubt if he’s confident, intimidated, thirsty, or bored.
Come back and listen to the sound of his saxophone, and watch his face with me. We both know which songs are his favorite just by studying his eyes while he plays. Watch him with me as he shifts in his seat makes eye contact with friends and sighs with relief after the end of each song.
Come back and hear his voice as the bellowing bass in the high school choir. Delight in how he sings with his whole heart and soul. His green eyes were bright with passion, then gently closed for the longer notes.
I could cast a glance your way and know that no one loves him more than you or me. Return to see him walk in his cap and gown. Watch as the wind blows his hair away from his face and marvel with me as we catch a glimpse of the man he is becoming. Stand with me while we both marvel, without saying anything, how the years have flown by so quickly.
The more I want for you to return, the more I understand that you never really went. Now I understand. I’m sure you loved them in every way possible. I know that being their grandmother brought you joy and fulfillment.
And, of course, I know you won’t be able to return, but I know your love for them will endure. Your love built them and protected them in unfathomable ways. Your love shapes who they are and who they will become as they grow.
I will always be grateful for this, as well as every treat and gift, and every time you held them too long, consoled them too much, or allowed them stay up too late. And I’ll wish you could do it all over again a million times.