Becoming a grandparent to my now 1 year old grandson was a wonderful thing. Having been one of those sceptics who mocked other grandparents when waxing lyrical about their precious grandchildren, I must eat humble pie and agree that there is nothing to compare with the love you feel for this new member of your family. Previously, being bombarded by photos of babies and toddlers that I had never met and whom I was never likely to, make my skin crawl, however I seem to have joined the cult of proud and boastful grandparents and am only too quick to flash my flip photo album to unappreciative non-grandparent friends.
The only problem is that I live in a different country to that of my grandson and therefore only get to see him every few months. He is very privileged to have two loving sets of grandparents, my husband and myself and my son-in-law’s parents, but that is where the granny envy comes in to play! Unfortunately I think I use my distance as an excuse and would probably feel the same if I lived around the corner. It is not just the fact that I miss out on the daily joys of seeing his rapid development or that I am not around for the milestones in his life such as his first steps and the first teeth, it is pure and simple possessive jealousy.
The other set of grandparents are great people and good friends, generous to a fault with their hospitality whenever we are visiting. Family gatherings are frequent and always fun events, but this is where my yellow streak manifests itself. When my grandson makes a beeline for the ‘other’ granny a slight pang of resentment make me wonder why it is not me he wants! Will I have the same close relationship with him as he grows up? Maybe I am not as amusing or entertaining, or perhaps I lack some basic granny skills.
My case of granny envy is a serious psychological impediment, always there in the back of my mind that he loves ‘other’ granny more than me. What I wonder is whether I am alone in feeling like this, or whether this taboo subject is just an inherent unspoken emotion suffered by grandparents everywhere?
©Jo Wyndham Ward