My kids’ two grandmothers aren’t competitive with each other. In fact, my husband and I each believe we have the greatest mother-in-law ever. But secretly, as much as I love my mother-in-law (and I really do, I adore her), I harbor some competitive notions of wanting my kids to see my mom as being just as cool as their other grandma. I want to believe my family is interesting, too.
Here’s the thing. My mom was on the older end of the giving birth spectrum when I was born. My mother-in-law was pretty young when my husband was born. Also, my mother has had lupus for several years. My mother-in-law is not yet retired and, get this, owns a bowling alley. A bowling alley with a game room – air hockey, video games, the works. How could a visit to grandma be any cooler? My kids even get to go behind the scenes and watch the pin-setters work if they want to.
I tell the children about when my mom used to bowl. Okay, she never owned her own alley. But she owned her own shoes and ball. She was even on TV once, on “Bowling for Dollars.” However, they never witnessed it. To them, it’s as if I’m talking about a different person all together. I worry that their main memories of my mom will be ones of boredom, sitting by reading their books while I help her clip her nails.
She does try to take an interest in what’s important to them. She asks about their hobbies and what books they’re reading. But, it’s not as if she’s been able to entertain in any real way.
So I was very happy today when my 16-year-old daughter wanted to accompany me to the nursing home to visit her grandma. She took along pictures of her new pet – a hedgehog, and they had a great discussion about it. Score one for Team Maternal Grandma.