Tuesday, February 15, 2011


We're having a grandparent moment in the blogosphere, from the New York Times' typically navel-gazing Motherlode article to Katie Allison Granju's cheerful confession that her ability to juggle family and career is because of the daily childcare help she receives from her mother-in-law. In the news, we've got the Kelly Williams-Bolar case, in which a single mother claimed her children resided at their grandfather's house. And of course we have a First Family with a First Grandmother in residence.

My husband and I are both descendants of sparse, scattered families. None of my grandparents was a daily (or weekly, or even monthly) presence in my life as a child, and the same is true of my children. None of my siblings or parents lives in the same state that I do, and this is true for my husband, my parents, and my husband's parents as well. Many professional-class families look this way, because professionals follow their careers wherever they might take them, and wind up living far from their family of origin.

What are we missing when we miss daily connections with extended family? We miss continuity and a sense of perspective. It's easier to get caught up in a competitive, destructive pre-professional rat race when your whole world consists of kids competing with each other to build the best college application, and parents who are constantly stressed out by work.

No comments:

Post a Comment