— Relationships —


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I don’t have grandchildren. I’ll try not to sound triumphant here, because the word on the street is I’m missing out on something so huge that apparently it would be sacrilegious to admit I am immensely relieved I don’t have grandchildren.

My friends rhapsodize that grandkids are the babies you can spoil to death in a way you never could with your own. They tell me the relationship with an older grandchild is special because of the purity of the relationship. There are no issues such as discipline, clouding the fun and games of time spent together.

But what I hear is babysitting. Babysitting here. Babysitting there. Babysitting while the parents go on a vacation… instead of me.

The fact is, I am one of these New Wave grandmas who have no desire to leap in and start all over again, cooing and billing and changing diapers and later having fascinating conversations about which is better: dogs or cats, ice cream or cake, the swing set or slide, that sandbox or… You get the picture.

Luckily my own children have not leapt onto the boat of procreating. Successful and past the age when my first grandchild should have been born, they seem perfectly content as they are. Therefore I haven’t had to rebuff any grandchild/grandma bonding. I haven’t been put in the politically incorrect position of running, screaming from the arrival of the next generation.

Before you shake your head because you have grandchildren and therefore feel sorry for me, let me tell you what I have that fills the gap, fits the bill and makes me endlessly happy. I have grand pets. Two gorgeous kitties, Sego and Zaeria, and a shy, but oh so manly, white husky named Luka. I adore these fabulous little creatures as much as I would any grandchild. And while I can’t fathom wanting to suddenly backtrack in my life and babysit actual little grandkids, I love to babysit my grand pets. I love spending time with them. I love spoiling them.

I love, love, love them.

One of my favorite times is when my either of my children go out of town, and I get to have these amazing grand pets stay with me. It’s just the very best time. I get to spoil them and let them run wild in the dog park or have too much catnip. I get to feed them forbidden snacks. I take them on more walks than their overworked parents have time for. And they reward me by loving me to death, and falling asleep on my lap as I watch grownup shows while on Grandma duty.

Do come sit next to me and let’s compare pictures. Please note that in mine there are no tears. Just a whole lot of soft fur blowing and sparkling in the sun, wagging tails and the ability to fall off a window ledge and not get hurt.

I just heard Luka may be getting a little husky brother. I am thrilled!


  • Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski February 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

    I’m currently babysitting my Granddog. My kids also are taking their time and I’m not in a big hurry for grandkids either.

    • Ruth Yunker February 20, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Ahh Rebecca, so perfect, right? The best of all worlds!

  • Brenda Coffee February 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I never wanted children, but I do appreciate and even love and adore some of my friend’s grandchildren. I’m sure mine decision not to have children can be tracked back to my loopy relationship with my parents. BTW… my grandmother, my father’s mother, was my tower of strength and my role model. I still miss her, talk to her , and something of hers is in every room in my home, plus I have her dresser. When I open the drawers, they still smell like her. Makes me happy every time I do that! xoxox, Brenda

    • Ruth Yunker February 20, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Brenda, my mother’s mother taught me how to tie my shoes. She had long, thick grey silver hair which she would put into a very long braid before going to bed. I wished she was there when I was trying to teach my children to tie their shoes!

  • Sue Burpee February 20, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I have several friends who are retired and now are free full-time babysitters. This is fine if it’s what they want to do, and they’re not missing out on other activities. Or simply filling their free time because they had not planned to have so much of it when they retired. On the other hand, I have a good friend whose daughter called her and asked her to fly across the country to babysit for a week so the daughter and her husband could go on a cycling holiday. She’d done this the previous year when there was a daycare emergency and both parents needed to be away for work. But this time she smiled and said, “Nope.” Incredulous, the daughter inquired “why not?” And my friend responded that she had activities planned that she chose not to cancel, and the daughter and her husband should holiday with their kids just as she and their father had done. Conversation over. I laughed when she relayed all to me.
    Maybe I sound hardhearted about this. But there is so much world left to discover when we retire. places and activities to explore that we were too busy with work and kids, or too poor, to take advantage of in our thirties, forties, and fifties. I just think it’s a shame if grandparents miss out on that.

  • Ruth Yunker February 20, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Sue, of course the decision is up to the grandparent. I certainly appreciated my own mother’s help with mine. BUT, yes, I have several friends who seem to be more caught up in their grandchildren’s lives than their own. Again, it’s their decision. I understand it’s an amazing love. I’m just happy my babysitting duties are infrequent, are for the furry kind, and don’t require a babysitter in order to carry on my own life while I have them. And I do love them!

  • Donna O’Klock February 21, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Good for you!! I’m in the same enviable position of having grown children who have chosen not to pbecome parents… and loving it, but few people we meet in our lifestyle see how anyone could be happy about that.
    Thank you for a joyous and enlightening point of view!
    XO Donna

  • Joanna February 21, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I do have grandkids. Eight of them to be exact. I can’t say I really enjoy spending time with them. I never share this because most would think I am horrible but here I feel I can be honest. It is strange even to me. I loved having and raising my own three. I guess I’m older now and like some quiet.

  • Mona February 21, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I am glad I found this post. I have two children that will not be reproducing and I have felt quite sad about this. You are helping me see the upside if my grand-childlessness. I have to admit I have freedom which I might nit have had. I just retired and have to figure out what I need to do with myself. It is good to see I am not alone as most people I know have grandchildren.

  • Julie Russell March 6, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    I love this piece and thank you for writing it. I won’t say more!

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