Kids in pyramid

By Harvey Tobkes

I love my grandchildren like I loved my own children. The differences are, I do not try to be a parent. I give love, help, sympathy, and support; I play games like chess, baseball or football, and send them some e-mail both serious and funny. I may offer some advice but only in a mild form. We are not their parents. Likewise, (when it comes to our own children) we believe in not parenting a parent child.

When the grandchildren are with me, I find it best to give them whatever they want because they are going home to their parents to resume what is normal and we want the time spent with us to be a delight. Last week, Anita and I bought 2 kites and took the kids to the beach and let them fly those kites high and sent up messages and had a kite war and then they took the Bird Shaped Kites home to show the parents.

I admit a slight fault, I love to hug them and squeeze them for about 2 or 3 hours and then my patience runs downhill and I am ready for them to be on their way.

When they depart the age of innocence, (about age 12 or 13) simultaneously, their connection with adults seems to disappear as well, and we become the enemy. I may regret that fact, but I do not resent it, because it is part of and a fact of life; kids grow up.

We show interest in the things they do well and encourage them and reassure them about anything that is perhaps a challenge. After all, most children have strong talents and attributes and weak ones as well.

Michael is gifted in math and is a top student. David is a social charmer, he’s very talented in writing poetry and essays and very mature; Steven is smart and works hard to excel at sports and in everything he does. Rachelle is a beautiful girl and a marvelous dancer and knows everything. Little 5 year-old Emily is an adorable child and loves her Grammy best, but that’s O.K. with me.

That about sums it up and the story is probably not much different from that of millions of other families around the world.

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