A friend recently shared something interesting with me. As part of market research for her job about elderly (but young at heart!) people, she came across a study that researched 15 grandparents whose grandchildren were adopted and concluded that grandparents relate to their adopted grandchildren no differently than their biological grandchildren. Grandparents go through phases, but ultimately they consider the adopted child an integral part of the family. When they talk about their adopted grandchildren, they don’t use adoption language: They speak of the children as they would their biological children.
I love seeing this play out in my own family. We got our first taste of it over the holidays, when both sets of parents went into full grandparent mode. This weekend, my in-laws are visiting, and they’re jumping right back into that role. My mother-in-law, upon walking into the house, set a large plastic bag on the table and began pulling out all the clothes she “just couldn’t resist.” She had some really cute stuff, including an adorable baseball sleeper. And let’s not forget the toys. Teddy was out of sight but not out of mind during a recent trip to Orlando. A personalized souvenir T-shirt had already arrived by post, but my mother-in-law decided to hand-deliver a Mickey stackable toy as well as one of those plastic balls that has shapes cut out (similar to this, but with cut-out pieces that, evidently, can double as cookie cutters–both my father-in-law and mother-in-law pointed this out).
Now, Teddy’s at that age when he’s beginning to show a little aversion to “strangers,” so when we initially handed him to my father-in-law, his face scrunched up in apprehension and he whimpered a little. But my father-in-law wasted no time winning him over. Within minutes, he was playing peek-a-boo with a cloth, tossing it so it landed on Teddy’s head and then pulling it off to reveal Teddy’s startled face, and had Teddy laughing and bouncing on my mother-in-law’s knee in anticipation of the next toss. Teddy’s never really shown much interest in peek-a-boo before. Guess he was just waiting for Grandpa to play with!
I treasure these moments so much. I appreciate my family so much. Teddy’s our son, and he’s their grandson (their favorite grandson, of course). End of discussion.