Friday, January 30, 2009

The Motherlode - Do I want a "Marian Robinson"?

JW had sent me a link for an article on the Motherlode (NYT magazine blog on Parenting). I was distracted from reading the linked article when this other item caught my eye. I belong comfortably in the "if-my-mother-is-willing-to-be-my-"Marian Robinson",-I-will-gladly-have-her" camp. (Incidentally the f parental unit is arriving, yahoooo!!!!)

I think that the whole angst around the "Marian Robinson" effect has more to do with this culture (meaning US). In the Old country, grandparents expect to spend some time caring for their grandkids. The family unit is closer and in most cases, stronger. People don't tend to move too far away though that is beginning to change. (I see a lot of my friends lighting up the globe now.) I have seen that in the US, there is a bit of a struggle between "living life to the fullest" and "tending to the young." This generation of grandparents are globe-trotting and social clubbing bunch. They have way too much to do to devote whole weekends or summers to the little ones.

On the one hand, I at times am saddened that the kids only see Gmom once a week when it's convenient. However I can see it from her point of view as well. She is young and have spent most of her life, saving and worrying about her kids. Her kids are now grown. This is her time. I get this. This is more likely the model of my own senior years.

But what about the family? I am used to a wide web of family, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc (though my own family is not that big). More and more, I have had to redefine family as my own nuclear unit. Which though wonderful can be at times lacking in the noise and affection that comes with a larger network of loved ones.

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