Why Grandparents Are Different

I spent yesterday with my favorite guy in the world. My grandson. Grandparents have such a special relationship with their grandchildren.

He’s now at the point, when I walk in the door, his face bursts into a smile and he hurls himself into my arms yelling Gr-Nanny! It knocks the breath out of me every time! Not the hugging. His joy. 

He can’t quite say Granny yet. I’m Nanny or Gr-Nanny. If it always stays Gr-Nanny, it’ll be fine, because it’s so damn cute.

I’m in my car at the crack of dawn so I can arrive before his folks leave for work. It’s almost a 2 hour drive from my place to their’s.

I call it hooky-day with Granny. Hooky from pre-school is fine. If he does it in high school, we’ll have a talk.

His little personality is developing very clearly at 2.

I’d felt miffed I never saw him wearing the Teddy Bear sweater I knit him last year. I assumed his folks thought it hokey. But 15 seconds after I put it on him yesterday, he was yanking on the neckline saying, “I don’t like it, take it off”. I guess he told me!

A few months ago I decided to spend one entire day with him a week. He attends a great pre-school but I think every child needs undivided, one on one attention from someone who loves them. His Mom and Dad do it all weekend, and I wanted to do it during the week.

He was really proud of his tower!

When we build with blocks I teach him about the top, center, middle, bottom, base and foundation of towers. I’m pretty sure they don’t have time for that at preschool.

His language is exploding at an exciting rate and he’s now putting short sentences together, to express himself. I want to expose him to words he won’t  hear at pre-school.

I also want to be the most important person to him, other than his Mom and Dad. I want to be that person he can count on, for anything. When he’s older, I want him to know he can come to me with anything he has problems with. If I don’t establish that relationship early, it won’t be there.

Not being the parent makes it easier. I don’t have to be the disciplinarian.

Grandparents are different. He doesn’t pull the same things on me, that he does on his parents. The only time he gave me that, I’m about to have a temper tantrum face, I told him it must work on some people, but it wasn’t going to work on me. Smart little 2 year old that he was, he smiled and kept playing.


So I’m putting a lot of miles on my car these days, and loving every second of the journey. Driving up with anticipation. And driving home savoring the memories

My heart overflows with love for this little guy. I must have felt the same way about my children, but in many ways, this is more powerful.


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  1. Hello Jennifer, What a lovely, touching post. It reminds me of the time I spent with my granddaughter when she was about 1- 1/2 years old. She was just learning to talk, her pronunciation was was not very clear and she did not have all the words she needed to express herself. In spite of the fact that her parents spent much more time with her than I did, they could not understand her as well as I could. The reason? I took the time to listen to her. Like someone learning a new language, she understood much more than she could communicate back. I would sit on the floor at her level, look right at her and gently say, “That’s ok. Say it again, I am listening.” My little granddaughter and I formed a special bond from that experience. Now she’s a VERY communicative 6 year old with an incredible command of English.

    I have found that taking the time to stop and listen to my nearly 100 year old father who has had a stroke works equally well.

    Smiles from Carol

  2. Jennifer, Loved this so much. What a lucky little guy to spend a whole day with you a week. You are a wonderful grandma to do this. I had a lot of quality time with my grandma and she made such an impression on my life. I am lucky to still have her and tell her all the time how much I remember those long days with her. She was patient, kind and explained a lot about the world to me. She said she had a grandma who was loving and doting and so that made her want to be that kind of grandma too. I hope I get the chance to be. I had my kids so old and no one has babies until much later now.. Jennifer you know what is important. His little face just made my day. Hope you are having a lovely Thanksgiving. xoxo Kim

  3. What a cutie pie! You both are so very blessed to have concentrated quality time together. Such a special bond!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  4. I agree with all of the above. I will have the pleasure of spending this morning with my 2 yr old grandson feeding the ducks and playing football (very badly on my part and not good for the knees!)

  5. Sandy Nelson says:

    Oh Jen, I so get this! This deep piercing love relationship we didn’t even know we were missing until holding our grandchild. To participate in their tiny and safe world and witness the unfiltered expressions on their faces. My twin granddaughters are three-years-old now and the journeys they take me on with their imagination are recorded in my heart. And I just learned they will welcome a baby boy in March. What a hoot!

  6. So great that you’re able to enjoy a weekly visit, having him all to yourself for a whole day! The two of you are clearly developing an unbreakable bond and having tons of fun together.

  7. How wonderful that you and your grandson get to spend an entire day a week together! Precious memories for you & him!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. This is such a meaningful post, Jen. What memorable moments you are capturing that will be with you both for life. My mom felt very much the same about developing this kind of relationship with my sister’s boys and it is such fun to see. They continue to have the relationship that you describe. I remember when this little one was born–and the joy continues to magnify! You have so much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving dear friend.
    xx, Heather

  9. Your grandson is so cute. He looks so happy to be with you.

    Every time our grandson comes running up the front walk so excited to see me and my husband, it melts my heart with joy.

    May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Susie D.

  10. This is such an adorable post Jennifer and I’ve seen the love of grandparents after having my baby and it is SO strong. 🙂 I can imagine how excited you must be when you’re driving at dawn to go see him and it was so funny reading about how he already has his own personality and the knitted sweater story. Kids are definitely honest about their feelings. hehe. Thanks for sharing and hope to see you very soon again. 🙂


  11. He is one lucky kid!

  12. What a great idea! He will remember the good times with his Gr-Nanny. A two hour drive is well worth it. When my daughter lived in Ohio, I would drive over for school programs, to pick her up from school or just to be with her. They are in Texas now which a little far for a quick trip.

  13. He is soooooo cute! I agree with everything you write about the importance of your relationship. It makes me miss my little guys on the other side of the world so much.

    1. Thanks Pam. You must miss them so much!! I am very lucky to live close by mine.

  14. While some may say it’s a time commitment, I think it’s an expression of love. You’re also smart enough to know that if you don’t establish those bonds now, you won’t have the relationship you want when he’s older.

    My father’s mother was perhaps the most important person in my life. She was always a big presence in my life, but even more so after my father died when I was 12. She lived in another state, but we talked every Saturday morning, until she died in her 90s, plus I saw her frequently. I still miss her.

    1. You’re so lucky to have had that relationship with her. I wasn’t close to either of my grandparents. In one side of the family there was estrangement, on the other lack of interest from my grandparents.

  15. Not being a grandparent yet myself, I suspect it’s especially strong because as we get older we are more relaxed and because we me the baby years with our own children. The skin in the game is enjoyment and love, not feeling responsible to raise a person to adulthood. He is absolutely adorable.

    1. Thanks Wendy! I think you nailed the reason perfectly.

  16. I was told that in Greece they have a saying that loses a lot in translation,
    “Your child’s child is twice your child.”

    I love being a grandmother, too!

    1. I understand the feeling of that saying completely!! It’s amazing.

  17. Jennifer he is so adorable! My grandchildren have brought me so much joy it is incredible!!

    The Arts by Karena
    The India Hicks Collection

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