temporary parents

As the oldest child (and only girl) in my house, I was in constant competition with my younger brothers. Every time I managed to win some new privilege from my parents, I just made the path to that privilege easier for them, and I tasted that disappointment keenly.

What was the good of winning something new, if I couldn’t lord it over them for at least a year or two?

I grew up less than 20 miles from where my paternal grandparents lived. I remember vividly going to spend the night at their house during the weekends, starting when I was around 8 or 9. I can’t remember if my brothers got to go or not–they certainly didn’t stay there on weekends that I was there. My grandmother let me stay up later than my parents did–a lifelong insomniac, she was always glad for some company at 11:00 p.m.

We played countless rounds of Scrabble and she kicked the pants off me at gin rummy. I don’t think I won a game against her until I was at least 13. When I had my hardest times with my parents, I always had her. I ended up living with my grandparents for a summer when I was in high school, when I couldn’t stand to live with either of my parents, and I lived with my grandmother for about half a year after I got out of college (my grandfather had died by that point).

There are many, many reasons that I miss my grandmother, not the least of which is that she died before either of my children were born.

I really wish that my kids had the opportunity that I did, when I was young, to hang out with their grandparents. Unfortunately, the only set of grandparents that live near enough for that are the ones that we’re totally alienated from–my dad and his wife. The closest one is my MIL, but she’s a good 2 hours away by car.

I also really wish that we had some temporary parents that we could send the Bee off to for a day or so. She’s at the point where she really needs some more independence—and some more one-on-one attention—than either of us is able to give her. The closer we get to Election Day, the more landisdad is on the single-parent track, which is stressful for everyone involved. It would help to be able to ship her off to someone who has the time to play 16 consecutive games of Egyptian Ratscrew with her. She’d really benefit from having a parental figure who is less about authority, and more about just being interested in her, and paying attention to her, without her brother in the room.

How do you find people that you trust to spend time with your kids, if you don’t have family close?


September 28, 2008. thoughtful parenting. 6 comments.