| Hindsight Is 2020 |

We Aren’t the GRANDMOTHERS of 2010

Somehow we built up this entire tribe! Then I could just cry from all the nachas


010-2020 were the years I entered full-fledged bubby-hood. Grandchild #1 appeared in 2009, the second one in 2010, and ever since there’s been a steady stream now constituting more than a baker’s dozen. My own children were married and out of the house by 2017, but there’s no empty nest for me. Most are local and drop in a lot (and drop off when they need an emergency babysitter).

My own mother, at this stage, had what seemed to me such a leisurely life. She wasn’t working outside the home and didn’t make Shabbos or Yom Tov for big crowds. She lived two hours away, so while she visited us about once a month, she wasn’t hands-on like I am.

But most grandmas my age are juggling multiple balls, caught between the needs of children, spouses, grandchildren, aging parents, and work. We’re not sweet little old ladies baking cookies in an apron (although we do that too). We are, baruch Hashem, still vigorous — and still working. After paying for yeshivos and marrying off our kids, who can afford to retire?  Fifty and sixty are the new forty and fifty.

There’s another kind of juggling we do:  The constant weighing of how much help and input to offer. Should I open my mouth with advice and opinions on parenting, or let my parent-kids find their own way? (Answer:  I’d rather be the hands-off type and not offer input unless it’s solicited.) Do I agree to babysit grandchildren all morning, if it means I might have to stay up till 2 a.m. to finish an article on time? Each case demands its own cheshbon.

We grandmas may be less agile than the 20-somethings on Instagram, but technology has colonized our lives too this decade. The upside: I’m able to enjoy video chats with my grandchildren in Jerusalem, so they know me as a living person, not an abstract, disembodied voice on the phone. On the downside, I find my grandchildren lust for my tablet, computer, and phone with the same avarice they show for lollipops and gummy bears. I’m not averse to kids watching a video once in a while, but it becomes addictive frighteningly fast. Why should Bubby read them a book when they can watch Uncle Moishy on a screen? I find myself hiding my gadgets and password-protecting my computer, so they’re forced to do stuff like read, imaginative play, and actually interact with me.

My family has gotten so big, bli ayin hara, that having them all over for holidays and gatherings can be overwhelming. (I don’t have a big house or industrial-size kitchen.)  Yet when we’re all together for a Seder or holiday, sometimes I look around and reflect that my husband and I started out as two solitary baalei teshuvah. Somehow we built up this entire tribe! Then I could just cry from all the nachas.

This Isn’t the CHINUCH of 2010

We’re Not the KLAL YISRAEL of 2010

This Isn’t the COMMUNICATION of 2010

This Isn’t the HOUSING of 2010

This Isn’t the MUSIC of 2010

This Isn’t the THERAPY GENERATION of 2010

This isn’t the RBS of 2010

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 790)


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