Who doesn't have issues with a parent? But when it comes to the grandchildren, everyone can be happy.
Jeanne Sager: I think I can speak for a good portion of America when I admit that I've always wanted to have something in common with Angelina Jolie.
And I'm not talking the "Octomom" sense of creepy adoration (no fake lips for me).
But Ms. Pouty Lips and I have finally got a connection: We've got parent problems. And we're willing to set them aside for our kids.
A host of media reports say that the much-publicized rift between Jolie and her dad, actor Jon Voight, has been healed, with Grandpa Jon flying into Venice over the weekend to see his daughter and her brood of kids. A family rep even told CNN, "He's crazy about his grandkids. He thinks each and every one is very special."
Angie -- may I call you Angie? -- I get it. And I give you two thumbs up for being a parent first, a daughter second.
It's not always easy. I know from experience. Like many teenage girls, I had a tumultuous relationship with my mother, and by adulthood it hadn't gotten much better. Things came to a head during my pregnancy: My mother largely ignored me while I carried her grandchild, skipped my baby shower and even declined the trip to the hospital to meet her new granddaughter.
Just over a week after my daughter was born, my husband and I called together all four grandparents and my brother for a family dinner. We placed my daughter in my mother's arms, and that was that.
Who doesn't fall in love with a baby? For that matter (as every parent knows), your baby is the one NO ONE can resist. Right?
I've had to learn to step back and let my daughter have her own relationship with her grandmother, and also to realize that their relationship has absolutely nothing to do with me (well, other than that little blood thing going on).
We bicker. They don't. Because my daughter isn't me. She's her own person, with her own dislikes, likes and her own sense of adventure.
And she gets things from my parents that I can't give: the sense of history; the place the family holds in the community ... as a whole, are all important. But so are: the extra My Little Ponies (given "just because"); the Barbie fruit snacks that I refuse to pick up but that really won't hurt my daughter as long as they're given out one-by-one every so often; the chance to sleep between two adults in the big-people bed when she has a perfectly good bed down the hall.
Kids need to be spoiled now and then. And as parents, we tend to suck at it. "Bad cop" is our lot in life.
But that shtick doesn't work without a good cop, and grandparents are ready and willing to step into that role (Barbie fruit snacks in hand).
Your parents might drive you batsh*t crazy. Been there, done that, keep my hair really short to prove it. But when my daughter comes home from Oma's after a girls' night of toenail- painting and homemade crepes, she's just crazy in love.
Kind of like Jon Voight and Brangelina's brood.
|Jeanne Sager is a mom to Jillian and a writer from upstate New York. She's strung words together for Babble.com, Kiwi Magazine and AOL's Holidash, and she shares her award-winning weekly newspaper column on her blog, Inside Out.|