Grandchildren are the greatest gift you can have

In five weeks time my son and daughter in law (DIL) and their two adorable children, 4 years and 20 months, go back to live in Australia. I have been preparing myself for this for some time, but now that the flights are actually booked, I’m counting the days and trying to make them last longer. I have had the most wonderful few years any granny could have. I have been absolutely hands on with my little grandson and my beloved DIL has given me such freedom with her baby. How precious and generous is that?


They say that grandchildren are the greatest gift that you can have and it is true. To have a little person snuggling up to you and saying “I love you granny” is pure heaven.  How wonderful it is to be able to take their pain away by distraction and rubbing it better. The joy of an ice cream. The hysterical time we have in the bath. My grandson was three and a half before he realised that Donald Duck wasn’t really talking to him and that it was granny in the corridor. Three wonderful Christmas mornings when Father Christmas had eaten the mince pies. The joy of watching the delight of what Father Christmas had brought. And how did he know? That a garage was just what was wanted! The reindeer didn’t eat the carrots but it didn’t matter – we had them with hummus later!


Now it’s time for the other granny to have those wonderful moments. And I’m pleased for her. She has such a treat in store. Their English accents will set her off for a start.

The warm love that you feel as a grandparent is like no other. It is certainly not the painful aching bursting passion you felt for a lover. Or the solid unadulterated totally spherical love of a parent. No. This is a gentle all engulfing infinite love.  It is in itself a manifestation of love. I know I’m waxing lyrical but one day you non-grandmothers will understand what I’m trying to say.

I want to thank my youngest son and DIL for the really happy and fulfilled time I have had with them over these three years. I so very much I appreciate the time I have been blessed with.

I appreciate and count my blessings that I am fit enough to pick up the little ones, feel their perfect skin, smell their newness. Swim, run, laugh. I can even kick a rugby ball and play hide and seek. And I can crawl through the undergrowth on my elbows. Better than that, I can follow instructions and build a Lego model. I don’t mind getting soaking wet when my grandson turns the hose on me .


As my older grandchildren move on in their lives (My eldest son and another wonderful DIL’s two are teenagers already) it is sometimes more difficult to strike a chord with them. But with a bit of Googling and trying to understand what they are interested in, I can still make them laugh. I try to find out what they are thinking. Apart from a few grunts (usually bad timing on my part) they are very nice to me!  I find it absolutely fascinating to hear their thoughts and views on life.  I am immensely proud of their achievements and always delighted to be included in anything they are doing. When my grandson was in a play recently, I think I suffered worse nerves than him.

I really hope that in time and with education permitting, I will one day be able to take my older ones to see some of the things they perhaps haven’t seen with their parents. I would love to show them how some people, who are not so fortunate as themselves, live. And hope that they too feel they want to help. At the moment I am gladdened and amazed at the width and scope of their education. Both at home and at school. I congratulate their parents on their enormous input.

Being a grandparent allows you to enjoy the fulfilment of the children growing up. You have, to a certain extent, already had experience of this, however it tastes so much sweeter the second time! It’s a double bonus.

GrandchildrenI find myself constantly savouring the moment.  Something I was never able to do with my own children as as there always seemed to be poverty or the tyranny of the urgent knocking at my door. And that brings me on to – something terribly important in my opinion: one of the most valuable things I have learnt from my eldest son is time management. He is very good at it. He fits in more in a day than I ever managed to. He does it by being focused and disciplined and yet, when he gives you his attention, you feel there is no one else in the room. When I have time with my grandchildren I try not allow anything to detract from my time with them. Time is too precious.

Let me tell you. It’s great being a Granny. It is the most rewarding and heavenly role.

So, I have to face that my youngest son and his family are going home to Sydney. A gorgeous place full of life and vigour and healthy lifestyle. My darling little family go with every blessing in my body. But at the same time I am struggling with sadness. I know I have been given the greatest gift by my generous son and DIL  – time with them and their little ones. There has been lots of time in the last three years. And I have so many wonderful memories which I shall go over every day.

Of course I will be visiting them soon. Not too soon of course. They need time to settle in. I won’t cry when we say goodbye. I don’t want to upset the little ones. But I may cry on the way home. Then… I WILL SHAKE MYSELF OFF AND TURN MY CHEST TO THE WIND.

There is a space to fill… and time goes by. Does anyone want a babysitter?

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6 years ago

What a lovely blog….I am in total agreement with you that grandchildren are the greatest gift that we can have and so very rewarding. I adore my grandchildren too and we always have so much fun when we are together. Enjoy and cherish your memories of being with your little people during the past few years. Maybe you can start planning your visit to Australia in your mind now to help to ease your sadness when they leave? Remember one thing though Backpacking Granny, that they are also blessed to have such a caring, devoted and loving grandmother like you x

6 years ago

I am neither a grandmother nor a mother. And I loved this article. It captured not just the joys of grandchildren but also the odd pleasures of being older.

And, yes, I will remember more often to ‘shake myself and turn my chest to the wind’.

Thank you.

Veronica Barrett
6 years ago

I did so love your blog! I totally agree with you about grand-children being the best gift. I had four children close together and was always too tired to enjoy them as much as I should have done. They have grown up into wonderful adults, in spite of my lack of attention, and three of them have the most gorgeous little children of their own – my husband and I absolutely adore them and can play on the floor with them or kick balls around for hours. Our son and DIL live in Montreal so we don’t see their little 16-month old son as much as we would like to. But he is adorable and our son tries to Skype with us as often as possible to keep us visible to him and him to us. And we are able to go out there at least a couple of times a year as it is not so far to fly, really, when we put our minds to it. I hope you manage to Skype your little family often. You do seem to travel a great deal, like we do, so perhaps time will not drag quite so much without them! As you say, we have to ‘shake ourselves and turn our chests to the wind’. Being grateful for all our lovely moments does so make a difference…

Anna K.
Anna K.
6 years ago

I do so agree! Who said that grandchildren are your reward for not killing your kids? True,true, true. I keep a notebook of conversations – it’s so easy to forget things like:

Me (as grandchildren come in from garden): What have you been doing?

G/children: We’ve been taming dragons!

Me: Goodness! That must be dangerous!

G/children: No. We’ve got a magic feather!


Rhian: I’m a crocodile doctor, Granny.

Me: Poor crocodile! What’s wrong with him?

Rhian: (shaking head reprovingly): ‘He’s eaten too many shoes.