Dear Grandparenting: We have three grown daughters. Two are married and the third might as well be. I have never made a secret about how I would like to have grandchildren while I am still young enough to spoil and enjoy them. My sisters all have their grandchildren. I have nothing. I have told my daughters that a grandchild would make me the happiest person in the world. What do I get? Nothing. I can’t pinpoint the reason why my daughters have not cooperated. I could write a book on the excuses and reasons they give me. Here’s just a sampling of what they tell me:
You planned your family and we will plan ours.
One of these days we will surprise you but asking is not going to make us rush into it.
The timing is all wrong for us right now.
We are trying but nothing is happening.
Blah, blah, blah.
I always thought that by now I would be surrounded by grandkids and would have written you at least one letter about them. That’s not happening so I decided to write a letter instead on behalf of all the “wanna be” grandparents stuck on hold. Those who are grandparents do not know how truly lucky they are. F.C., The Villages, Fla.
Dear F.C.: We know you are not alone. The hunger for grandchildren is a natural urge that quickens as the biological clock keeps ticking. It is your misfortune that America is undergoing a seismic motherhood shift. For many females, 40 is the new 20 in maternal matters. More women than ever are delaying having children.
The data from The National Center for Health Statistics is surprisingly conclusive. Starting in 1980, women of all ages began postponing childbirth. By 2004, the number of women giving birth at age 30 had doubled. At age 35, the number had tripled, and at age 40 it had quadrupled. The most common reasons were building a career and economic problems.
As more women enter the workforce and gain economic independence, children become tend to become optional. According to the Pew Research Center, just 41 percent of Americans consider children to be essential to a successful marriage, down from 65 percent 20 years ago.
There you have it. Life is not fair — not everyone is destined to become a grandparent. For your sake, we hope your badgering has not driven a wedge between you and your daughters. Ease up on the pressure. It’s a relationship killer.
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GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Jess from Kingsport, Tenn. sent along one we liked. “Who needs plastic surgery? I have grandchildren to keep me young!”
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Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.