Thank you, Mom and Dad.
It’s not uncommon to hear grandparents say how amazing it is to watch their children become parents. But we don’t hear as much about what it feels like to watch our parents morph into grandparents.
I never doubted that you would be good grandparents.
You’ve always been supportive of me, whether it was when I decided to become a vegetarian, to take time off from school to travel, or my wacky dream of becoming a writer.
You followed me across the country from Alaska to Maine. And like many parents of grown children, you were ready to be grandparents well before we were ready to plunge into parenthood.
But just as I could’ve never imagined all the nuances of parenting, like the clear blue eyes my children both have or the determined, strong-willed personality of my son, I never could’ve imagined all the ways you’d be amazing grandparents.
For the way our kids’ eyes light up when they see you.
For the way my son snatches the phone away from me when you call, because he can’t wait to tell you about his football cards, his Tae Kwon Do class, and the latest book he’s reading. For the way my 4-year-old daughter scrawled out, “I love spending time with you and Papa” in your Mother’s Day card.
Thank you for playing Go Fish with the kids for hours.
For the horsey rides and the light saber battles. For blowing bubbles on your back deck, watching along with my kids as the shining orbs float and fall.
Thank you for all the breaks you give us. I don’t know if you remember how precious a little time for yourself is when it’s in such short demand — it’s the best gift we could ask for. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you for putting up with my occasional chides when I think you gave them too much sugar or screen time.
I am learning to let go, slowly, incrementally, imperfectly.
Thank you for never questioning us about our parenting choices, even when they’re quite different from yours.
Thank you for always being there, for teaching me that parenting doesn’t end when our kids turn 18. For better or worse, it goes on, changing, evolving, reconfiguring but never-ending.
Mostly, thank you for the unconditional love and support you’ve always given me.
That foundation of support is coiled deep within me, and it lies at the heart of my own parenting. You taught me that when kids are born, they are already their own little individuals. You showed me how to navigate differences with respect and trust.
I know someday my kids will thank you, too.
This essay originally appeared on our sister site Mom.me and was republished with permission.