We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
America is swiftly becoming a granny state. Less frail and more involved, today's grandparents are shunning retirement homes and stepping in more than ever to raise grandchildren while young adults struggle in the poor economy.
The newer grandparents are mainly baby boomers who are still working, with greater disposable income. Now making up 1 in 4 adults, grandparents are growing at twice the rate of the overall population and sticking close to family — if their grandkids aren't already living with them.
The modern invention of the nuclear family never really worked out that well, did it? Too isolated, too little support and help, etc. Farm families consisted of extended families.
Living together doesn't necessarily mean closer. My mother's maternal grandfather lived to 95. I don't know how old he was when he started being rotated among his children, spending 2-3 months at one of his children, then moving on.
The only thing I remember my mother saying about her grandfather was that he would corral her to have an audience to listen to him talk. She said that as a child, she didn't enjoy those talks and avoided him whenever possible. Perhaps because children prefer talking about themselves instead of being a listener. Who knows?
When I was a child, I greatly enjoyed being with my maternal grandmother because when I was with her she spent a lot of time listening to ME. Because she also lived to 95 -longevity must have run in that family- as an adult I had the good fortune to listen to her, and get to know her, warts and all.
"One in four Americans are grandparents ..." One are? And the singular "one" is "grandparents?" Oh, those pesky prepositional phrases, always getting in the way. "One" is the subject and requires a singular verb.
hbd chick has recently finished a long series of posts on cousin marriage, especially which cousins marry, and how it affects social structure. She maintains that the Catholic Church's suppression of marriage among first, second and third (?) cousins broke down highly nepotistic social structures and promoted the nuclear family.
Of course, until the last 50 years or so, people in the old world were immobile and married others in their own villages. So, despite Church policy, they shared a great many more genes than we do in our highly mobile, non-village society.
When my kids were little, my husband and I made a conscious decision to stay in the same part of the country as our parents, so the kids could know their grandparents. We had both been close to our grandparents. What a wonderful feeling.
Grandparents are more involved because parents are less involved. Broken families, single-parent families, non-existent families -- grandparents can become parents again when their adult children abdicate responsibility for their own children.