while I usually never attempt to write on the same topics as CR because she is just so brilliant that I pale in comparison 🙂 I wanted to write on this one..my thoughts…
Grandparents…the very thought conjures up a old man in a kurta pyjama walking with a stick with a ramrod straight back going for morning walks and evening walks and taking care of the outside activities of the household apart from performing intricate poojas in the house while grandmoms are supposed to be ladies with white hair wearing a saree,praying for 4 hours in the morning to the various deities of the house, cooking, cutting, running after the grandchildren to make them eat and then answering grandpa’s requests for tea…come on most of us think of grandparents that ways
I find it pretty sad that most grandparents I know fall somewhere in this image…most grandparents often spend their post retirement taking care of their grandchildren..and the worst part is children expect it…
this includes me as well…when I was pregnant with R, I was sure I wanted to work or rather lets accept it I had to continue working even after R was born for various reasons…so I asked my MIL to come and stay with me till R was an year old to help me take care of her…MIL left everything – her house in Calcutta, my FIL, her friends, and came without any concerns and stayed and took care of R..what was in her mind, I dont know, but when I think back, I think what she did was great!
My mother used to be a teacher till an year ago so asking her to come was not possible and infact my mom was pretty clear that when you really need, I will come, but otherwise, I cant help out with your child full time…
I think what my MIL did was really really great and I will be forever grateful to her…whatever people say ‘ that R is her son’s daughter, its her duty to come’, she came because SHE wanted to…etc etc etc..I dont care, the bottom line is she left HER life for me and came…thats where her greatness lies!
Tomorrow if R has a kid (IF R wants a kid, if she gets married or even if she doesnt get married and even then wants a kid – you do get my drift dont you….basically
1. She can marry and have a kid
2. She can marry and NOT have a kid
3. She can just have a kid without marrying…
Sab options open hai from my side 🙂
Baap rey this is a big para within the brackets…)
I dont know if I will be there to take care of her child full time…I would rather pursue my hobbies…if its urgent and needed I will definitely help out but full time behind grandchildren..pata nahi…it doesnt make sense to me..
of course, one must remember that in India daycare facilities are pretty sad and the good ones are really expensive..but if most parents do start sending their children to daycares instead of expecting the grandparents to take care, I am sure it will make a difference
I started R with daycare when she was one….my MIL left just before her first birthday and I didnt feel bad about it…I could understand her feelings of being bored all alone in a city where the language is alien (she speaks Bengali better than Hindi) where she was not allowed to go out alone (RD and I used to scared to send her in crowded trains, and buses) where there was no temple nearby, no friends, her husband far away…I could totally understand..
She did offer to take R with her to Calcutta and send her back every vacation,but both RD and I were very clear that if we give birth to a child, we would rather bring her up instead of keeping her away…and whats the point, MIL/FIL had already raised two children and finished up with their kid raising sessions!
I think we often take our parents for granted especially in India…again lemme give you my example…I had to go to London and I simply called my mom and asked her to come…she was supposed to go to Kerala with my dad for some work..she cancelled her tickets and came and stayed in Mumbai for me…
After I read CR’s post that day, I felt guilty..guilty about just taking her for granted, asking her to leave her work and come for me…while many of you may say she got to meet her granddaughter and she wanted to help, the bottomline is I was selfish..I didnt think twice before asking her to cancel her tickets! Isnt that wrong…isnt she entitled to a life she wants to lead?
tomorrow, will I do it for R? honestly, I dont know…I seriously dont know…
I often wonder why we have a very one sided view of being a grandparent….either they pray or they take care of the grandchildren…in my circle, I honestly dont know any grandparent who takes vacations, goes out with friends or even does simple things like taking up a hobby..infact the only people who remotely do something like this are my parents….my mom joined my dad in Goa when he took up a job there and now both of them are alone, getting up in the morning, sitting out in the veranda to have coffee together, throwing rice at the pigeons in the garden and then dad comes back home for lunch and then they go out for drives in the evening (Now as I write this down, they almost sound like a just married couple!)
anyways the point being, that they live their lives…of course, like I mentioned earlier, they do come and help out whenever bro or me ask them to…but overall they are living their own lives…and I think they are enjoying that..
My in laws also stay alone in Calcutta, but I dont think their lives are as enjoyable as my parents..but again to each his own..my MIL is happy in her prayers and FIL is happy watching TV..so there..I cant argue on that..
If I ever become a grandparent (no pressure on you R!) I would want to live my life..infact thats why like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I would rather live in an old age home…surrounded by people of my age, doing what I want, taking breaks when I want to, pursing the hobby which I wish..and then of course come and help out R in times of need
Why is our social conditioning such that when a grandmom wants to paint her nails she is frowned upon or if she wears a sleeveless blouse she is sniggered at…why is it that when a grandfather wears a t shirt that says ‘young at heart’ he is laughed upon and when he expresses a desire to visit the Taj with his wife, he is reminded of his age…
Why cant we let the elderly be themselves..why do we as a society always judge them, their actions, expect them to behave in a certain way with a certain protocol..once you cross 50 you cant wear jeans or go to the parlour (I know of people who say that!) or that once you have a grand child you can stop colouring your hair or getting your eyebrows done!
Where is that written…why cant the grandpas and grandmas be young at heart..even if their body is physically getting old, its after a life they have to live after slogging for about 35 or 40 or 50 years of their life..dont they have a right to live their lives finally for themselves…I think they do…
Of course some grandparents do enjoy taking care of their grand children..for them thats the idea of fun..but has someone ever asked them if they really want to do it?
I think everyone is entitled to a fun life….even if they are 80 and not able to stay without a walking stick!