Baby Boomer Grandparent

I am a baby-boomer grandparent, how does this compare to grandparenting of the previous generation?

TIM KIMMEL: You know, the baby-boomer generation of grandparents is going to be different than any generation of grandparents than has ever existed in the history of the world.

DARCY KIMMEL: Kind of like we’ve been in everything else: we’ve broken all the rules.

TIM: We turned the world upside-down when we were kids, and we’re going to do it as grandparents. We just want to make sure that we leave it right-side-up before we leave.

DARCY: [laughs]

TIM: You know, really. A lot of grandparents weren’t expecting to be grandparents as young as they were. They didn’t realize that it actually starts a lot younger than you think.

DARCY: That’s right. The average age of a first-time grandparent is actually 47 years old. Most of the time, that blows people away.

And don’t worry if you’re older than that, because word on the street is that 60 is the new 40.

TIM: I mean, we are a generation that’s far more fit than the one before us.

DARCY: More educated.

TIM: More educated. We’re the youngest older generation that’s ever existed in the history of our country.

DARCY: We’re more mobile.

TIM: We’ve been around the world far more than the generations before us. And because of the economy, even though you may not have a lot of money, you have far more discretionary money than any generation that has gone before us. So, we’re going to go about this all differently.

Plus, as baby-boomers, we don’t want to take on the mindset that many generations in the past had that, you know, you get to this point of grandparenthood, and unless the kids live next door, it’s your time to fly off to some sunbelt community and live in a gated complex with a bunch of people your age, and basically become irrelevant.

No. You want to be involved.

DARCY: You would miss a great opportunity, because grandparenthood affords all of us a second chance to imprint a generation for greatness, and it’s not often that we get a second chance like that.

TIM: But we can’t miss this chance.

Now, you’ve got to do it in balance, though. We’re not supposed to be moving back in and continuing to run their life. We don’t want you in meshed homes. It’s not like you’re back in their being the parents, and we certainly don’t want to be somebody that’s undermining the work of our children and our grandchildren.

No, we want to be an ally and an asset. But the main thing is, we have got to be involved. We have got to make it a priority.

This is probably the best thing we can do in our twilight years. We’ve been around the block. We know what they’re up against. We know what matters, and, more importantly, we know what doesn’t matter. And so, we can keep the bubble in the middle for them.

So, listen. Welcome to the club. It’s been the greatest thing that ever happened to us.

And you know what got me about being a grandparent? I always wondered, “Why it is that grandparents and grandchildren get along so well?” Well, I’m better than the parents do with those kids. We figured it out. The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they both share a common enemy.

DARCY: [laughs]

TIM: And so, it’s our chance to get even. No, I’m just kidding.

It’s just been fun. And so, join the grand conspiracy with us and have a lot of fun along the way. You are going to make a huge difference.

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