family

Dads and Grandpas – NOT Optional

Happy Father’s Day!  We try hard to give Father’s Day equal billing to Mother’s Day but we’re not that great at it.  I wonder why?

We could value our dads and grandpas a bit more.  Although, now that I think of it,  grandpas do pretty good.  They really can’t go wrong.  They are fun and cause trouble with the moms and grandmas for spoiling the littles.  But it’s okay – it’s grandpa.  We give him a little extra room to be dangerous  – and silly.

IMG_2339
Grandpa with the Littles – spoiling them with more treats and toys

Maybe its just me.  Maybe I could do better.  Maybe everyone else is really good at taking care of dads and grandpas on their day like we take care of moms and grandmas on their day.

My children’s father (who is actually my husband – still – after almost 32 years), is a good dad.  He’s a hard dad sometimes, in the ways dads need to be. Dads need to be the enforcer, the law.  Children should fear their dad just a little.  It’s a healthy fear – because he loves his kids.  No doubt about that.

IMG_0515
They all got capes – because they’re all super heroes – even dad.

Ok – call me old fashioned.  It’s okay.  Yes, I’m speaking generally.  Yes, this doesn’t apply to all dads.  I get it.  But it’s Father’s Day so here it is.  Dads are important.  Dads are necessary.  Dads are not expendable or optional.

So so so many times I have disagreed with how the dad (my husband) has parented.  So. Many.  Times.  Still, we turned out some pretty great kids and it was not all me.  They would cry to me that dad was mean or they don’t want to drive with dad or dad did this or said that. But now as adults, they go to their dad with their problems.  Not the emotional kind – I still get all of those.  But he gets the rest.  I wonder if he ever disagreed about the way I parented … hmmm.

I need him to solve the problems when I’m just done with it.  I need him to edit the resumes and maintain the cars.  I need him to stay up late and wait for that darn kid to get home because I’m too tired.  He’s the fixer.  Just like my dad was the fixer – and still is.  Just when you think there’s NO WAY it can be fixed – he makes it happen again.

So honor the dads today.  They’re not perfect.  But then again, neither are the moms.

IMG_0303
Proud Grandpa (my dad) greeting his grandson.
Christmas, family

Christmas Gifts – Don’t Get Crazy

It’s time to start talking Christmas.   We probably should have started talking about this a few months ago but here we are.  By now, I hope your Christmas shopping is well underway.

636172794448228010884608298_GTY_christmas_presents_mm_150915_12x5_1600
(FYI:  This is NOT my tree or gift pile!) 

I’ve made good progress on everyone – everyone that is, but the littles.  On one hand, they are super easy to buy for but on the other hand, what on earth could a two and one year-old possibly need?  If there was a year where we could probably get away with very small gifts, this might be the one.

Nonetheless, buying Christmas gifts for grandchildren is different than for your own children.  It seems that there might be some sensitivities surrounding it.  For example, grandpa found a “kitchen” that he thought would be a great gift for the littles.  It was huge!  It was expensive.  I said absolutely not!

step2-grand-luxe-kitchen--86A3A3AA.zoom
… and these two cuties are NOT my littles

I feel like it’s not our responsibility or our place to outdo the parents – which is an easy thing to do when the parents are just starting out and have a mountain in student loans.

I just might have some backup on this philosophy.  Here’s what I read over at Grandparents.com:

From the moment Dorothea Hover-Kramer’s oldest grandson asked her for a bike, she dreamed of Christmas morning — and the look on the boy’s face when he’d find the shiny two-wheeler under the tree. Still, she says, “it was kind of a big present, so I thought I’d run it by my daughter [the boy’s mother].” Her daydream was quickly dashed. “My daughter said, ‘No, we’ll get him the bike.’ I said, ‘He asked me for it,'” says Hover-Kramer.

Hover-Kramer was disappointed, but she backed off. “As a grandparent, I’ve learned to be the peacemaker and accommodator,” she says. Her daughter and son-in-law bought the bike while she chipped in for the accessories, including a helmet and a lock.

I totally understand this scenario.  I would definitely be the one wanting to buy the new bike.  But really – is it my place?  I think it’s good to ask permission to buy such a gift.

Here are some other ways gift giving can go – again from Grandparents.com:

  • They ask you to buy a big gift, but you can’t afford it
  • They demand you run your gift ideas by them
  • They forbid you from buying certain toys
  • They ask you to go easy, but you had big plans

Do any of those sound familiar?  I haven’t experienced this yet but with 5 children, their spouses, and any number of grandchildren, I’m anticipating every one of those scenarios at some point!

So grandmas tread carefully.  It is Christmas but take it easy.  Let mom and dad be the hero – unless they ask you to step in.

We’ll be keeping it simple this year.  Maybe a few books and some Hot Wheels cars. I am working on a fun project for them but shhhhh… it’s a secret.  Something from my own children’s childhood that I think they might enjoy.  This might be the only year I can get away with a sentimental gift as opposed to a gift from Target.

Grandmas – tell me what you think.  Is it tricky for you?