Friday, September 26, 2008

Aunties and Grandmas

I remember when I fell in love...with my granddaughter. The grass became greener, the sky bluer. Everything was right in the world. I became a better person the day Naomi was born. I had a little person to impress.

There are great advantages to being an auntie or a grandma. We get to choose our moments to shine. There are great big rest breaks in between. We don't have to be the disciplinarian. And there isn't that niggling mother-daughter struggle for supremacy. Now, that doesn't mean I haven't been on my best behavior. After all, I have a reputation to build. Grandma reads stories. Grandma bakes cookies. Grandma always hears me; she listens.

But in our North American culture at least, extended family plays a subordinate role. If a parent deems us a danger, we're out of it. Out. There are "grandparent's rights" groups, of course. But legally and socially, custody and raising primarily rests with the parents. Not that this is wrong. But it makes me very, very respectful. Mom and dad have a huge responsibility after all. I must not ride roughshod over their decisions. After all, I am deeply in love.