Throughout my childhood, I had cool grandparents. They held a very special place in my heart. They were the foundation of our family and even if we had our ups and downs, they were the unmovable rocks that we could turn to. If one of my grandparents pulled me up on something, it was worse than being told off by mum or dad. These were the people at the top of my pyramid of love and those I never wanted to upset.
Each grandparent offered something different. Nana lived in Waterloo, an Irish immigrant who had been widowed way too early with four young sons to look after. A staunch Catholic, she would grill me every weekend asking if I had been to mass or not. Nana liked to make cupcakes, she measured everything with a cup and always allowed us to lick out the bowl afterwards.
My mother’s parents lived closer to us, grandad was Hungarian with a fascinating history I learned later in life. My grandmother came from a line of teachers, her own father a headmaster at a grammar school and her mother a primary school teacher… maybe moving to education wasn’t so far off of my life journey after all!
These special people, who stood at the sidelines of my childhood and encouraged me at every step, have been fundamental in my life and are a presence I am very keen to encourage in the twin’s life. In fact, I was overjoyed (and a little bit jealous) of them shooting off to County Durham over the summer holidays for a fortnight with Nonna and Grandad.
There was already an incredibly strong connection between the twins and the gramps but spending this special time with them and getting up to so many fabulous activities (Harry Potter castles, Hadrian’s Wall and making pottery) strengthened the bond even more. Reinforcing the idea that grandparents are enormously important in a growing child’s life.
The girls still talk today about their summer holiday antics and are plotting to return next year too. I’m not sure the grandparents know about it yet though!
They think of their grandparents as cool people to be with, they take them to nice places, let them stay up ‘late’, allow them into the kitchen to cook and bake. Their grandparents are full of knowledge – they encourage them to read, to listen, to ask questions and to try new things.
I can honestly say that the girls thrive in their company and it’s so good for them to be with other inspiring adults rather than all the time with us.
How to be cool grandparents
If you are about to become a grandparent I wish you a lifetime of happiness ahead, it’s one very special relationship that keeps on giving. If you’re looking for some top tips on how to be a cool grandparent, I found this fun infographic on Shepherds Friendly that gives some really good ideas to keep in mind as you develop your relationships.
Shepherds Friendly also have an efficient plan for saving for your grandchildren’s future that is worth a read. Take a look at their Young Savers Plan for more information to see if it’s for you.