February 2024

The Times They Are a Changin’

The thing about “the times” is that they’re always changing. It’s their nature. I want it to be my nature too. I want to be the kind of grandmother who adapts to new ideas.

Not the old person in the room complaining how everything has changed or rejecting out of hand anything that isn’t done the way it used to be done.

Why? Because I believe a lot of things have changed for the better, but mostly because I want to embrace the things that my children and grandchildren are embracing, so that I can truly be a part of their lives and have deep connections with them.

It’s harder to do that when you’re stuck in the “good old days”. I saw this happen with my father and his relationship with his grandchildren suffered because of it.
I want to be the grandma who plays in the garden, even though it means getting dirty, and gets in the swimming pool, even though it means getting in a swimsuit.

I want to be the old dog who can learn a new trick. I want this for myself just as much as I want it for my granddaughter. Sometimes this means putting aside my assumptions and old beliefs and jumping in.

For the most part I think I’ve done this, (but I probably shouldn’t get too cocky, she’s only nineteen months old.) I’ve gotten on board with the new trends. I accepted the highchair that moonlighted as a tripping/death trap for grandma.

Thankfully I survived this with only minor injuries and my granddaughter now uses a booster seat, that remarkedly hasn’t changed all that much in the last thirty years. (The main difference being that I decided I needed it, and voila! It arrived on my doorstep the next day.)

It took me a minute, but I overcame my fear of choking and got on board with baby led feeding. Yes, it’s true we used to puree the life out of our baby’s food and patiently feed them their dinner with a spoon while pretending it was an airplane or a choo choo train. Now it’s “here’s an apple, go with God.”

But I can already see that my granddaughter’s palette is much more sophisticated than my babies were. She eats so many things, and she eats them with no help from me!

And at least now there’s a website you can visit to help you manage your fears about choking. And if you or your baby are having any trouble swallowing any of this you can even find a feeding therapist.

Along with childrearing philosophies and highchairs, the look of your average grandparent has changed. Remember back when you were little, your grandparents looked so old?

Partly because you were so young but also people just looked older at fifty or sixty then than they do now. #sixtyisthenewfifty. (Also, remember when hashtags weren’t a thing?)

My grandparents were pretty hip and stylish, but they still looked like grandparents. Now there really are no “rules” about what a grandparent should look like.

There’s even a style trend called coastal grandma which many people who are not grandmas and who do not live on the coast are emulating.

And if you don’t know what coastal grandma style is, you can find out in a matter of seconds because these are the times we are living in.

Maybe I’m kidding myself, but I don’t think my granddaughter is going to think of me as old.

I’m hoping she will see me as the funny, hip, fashionista I imagine myself to be. Worst case scenario, she’ll appreciate the effort and I’ll have a lot of fun trying to convince her.

If you are enjoying my column or have a topic you’d like me to write about, I’d love to hear from you at [email protected].

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