Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Elul 5765 - September 21, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Keeping Grandmothers Who Live Nearby Happy:
Seven Simple Steps

by Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein

You know how much we love and adore our grandchildren! And how grateful we are to HaShem for giving us the privilege of being able to see them and to be able to spend time with them.

And their parents! How appreciative we are that our children are happily married to such wonderful spouses! And that our children were able to have children of their own, and are raising them so beautifully. We have truly been blessed by HaShem.

So I write this "Open Letter to My Dear Children" because there is no greater happiness in the world than getting a chance to see you and spend some time with you. After all, we did raise you. And the blessing of having such grandchildren - - words can't convey our happiness, gratitude, and joy.

When you need someone to watch your children "just for a little while," we are grateful that we live close enough to you to be able to do so. And we are happy to be able to help you, as well as pleased for the opportunity to be able to do so.

And, yes, of course we are eternally grateful to HaShem that we are still able and capable of doing these things!

But, dear children, you do know that we are not getting any younger. And, therefore, perhaps a few pointers can help you understand what is involved from our point of view at this stage in our lives.

1. Though I know that it is not always possible, if you wish to leave the grandchildren with us, please try to let us know a day or two in advance if you can. Though of course we love babysitting the grandchildren, and we are thrilled to be able to help you out whenever you need us, it is a little unsettling to be called at 10:30 at night and asked if it's okay to bring over the kids the next morning. We hate saying "no," and don't like when you hear us pause and you therefore respond, "Okay, never mind. I'll find some other option." Though we always want to be there for you, at our age it takes a little time for us to weigh the possibilities of canceling our next day's plans, especially after nine o'clock at night.

2. When you leave the children with us, try to give an approximate time when you expect to return. If we both forget to say and/or ask, perhaps you could try calling or hurrying back after 2-3 hours. At our age, that is a long, long time to be lively and cheerful and running back and forth to the potty asking, "Do you need to . . .?" etc.

3. When you come by to pick up the children — or the food that we've made for you so that you shouldn't have to cook dinner that night — if it is at all possible, please try to find the time to sit down and visit with us for 10 or 15 minutes. It gives us so much pleasure being able to spend those few minutes with you — and it takes away that unpleasant feeling that we sometimes get when you just run in, get what you came for, and then run out, which sometimes can make us feel like we are simply a baby-sitting service, or a take-out restaurant.

4. When you are at our house with your children, and you suddenly realize that we need to feed them supper/dinner, please try to remember that we haven't had a houseful of little kids running all around the house, for quite a few years now. So, please, at least try to get the children to eat over their plates, and not while walking all around the house. And don't be peeved if I don't have enough cucumbers or bananas to go around. I get tired sometimes of buying so many each week, and then throwing them out when you all don't come over.

5. Please do try to put away at least a few of the toys and books the children have scattered around the house. And if you can't finish the job, at least mention that you're sorry - - it's nice to feel that you notice that I will have to do it.

6. On your way out, please try not to forget to take out the garbage with you, especially if it includes your baby's dirty diapers. Ditto for removing the dirty diaper and baby wipes when you leave the room after changing the baby — it's a little disconcerting to walk into the room hours after you've left, and see (and smell) a balled up dirty diaper on the bed or floor.

7. When we buy you clothes for your children, please try to tell us right away if you don't want or like them. And, if you do like the clothes we've bought, please try them on the children within a day or two. It is extremely irritating to spend money on an outfit for your child, only to find out two weeks later that it doesn't fit. We'd much rather know immediately, so we can plan our schedules and return and/or exchange it without the pressure of having to do it right away.

[If you have become sensitized by these pointers, we are sure you will be generally more careful and appreciative of your parents/in-laws efforts to please you.]


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