by Teresa Bell Kindred
The other day a lady asked me if I thought I would love my 7th grandchild as much as I did the first one. I almost dropped my cup of coffee. What a weird question, I thought, but didn’t say out loud. I laughed and assured her that I would.
Later that day I thought about her question and I think I know why she asked me. She knows that I am one busy Nana. I try to help with all my grandchildren, I just published a book, I work on NanaHood and I help out on our blueberry farm. I think she was really asking if I would have as much time to spend with Number 7 as I did with Number 1.
The answer to that question is “no.” After all, there are only so many hours in a day. But before you form an opinion, let me clarify my answer.
My husband and I raised five beautiful, slightly goofy children. Did we love them all? Of course. Did we get to spend as much time with the twins (our youngest two) as we did the other three? No way.
The more children you have the more complicated life gets. Between church, school, sporting events, doctor and dentist appointments, laundry and meals, the twins got limited one-on-one time. Well, truthfully, they got zero one-on-one time. They were twins, and number 4 and 5. If I got their names right it was a good day.
While they might not have had alone time with us, they did have something the other children didn’t: each other. I have never seen two brothers as close as they are. They also had the benefit of older siblings who adored them and helped care for them. I’m not sure that not having parents who hover over you and cater to your every need is a bad thing. In fact, I believe that by the time they came along (I was 36), I was a much better parent than I was with the older kids.
Being a grandparent is very different than being a parent. It’s more fun and less responsibility, and best of all, someone else has to do their laundry! As a grandparent it’s easier to carve out some one-on-one time with each grandchild because I’m at a very different place in my life now than I was when we were raising our five children. I am a busy Nana, but I can stop what I’m doing and read a book, go for a walk or listen to a story much easier now than I could when I was teaching school and raising kids.
While I might not have as much alone time with this grandchild (or future grandchildren), they will have the benefit of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents who will love them unconditionally.
Family is really not about what number child or grandchild you are, it’s about love. And I promise you, Grandchild Number 7 will be loved, adored and cherished just like Numbers 1-6! Keep those grandchildren coming! This Nana is excited to welcome them into this crazy family!
Teresa Kindred is a freelance writer, former teacher, and author of several books, including The Faith-Filled Grandmother (2019). She’s the mom of five grown children and “Nana” to six precious grandchildren. She and her husband live in Kentucky. Her blog for grandparents is at NanaHood.com.