A friend recently told me that her in-laws think her kids are rowdy. I don't know if that's true. I'm not qualified to know if that's true, since I see her in-laws even less frequently than she (like, never), but I do identify with the sentiment behind the remark. I want my children's grandparents to know them, to see them as I do.
My friend's children, like mine, see their grandparents only a couple of times a year. It is impossible to really get to know someone in intense, concentrated visits such as these, and it makes me sad. So very sad.
And so I'm left with hoping. Hoping that during these short visits, my children will display their best selves so their extended family is left with the impression that they are the terrific kids I know them to be. Hoping that these snapshots of memories made during our fleeting times together represent the best parts of our kids, because that is all their extended family knows of them. But at the same time, knowing that their best selves are more reliably revealed in the routine, every day, mundane moments of our lives, not in the busy pressure-cooker of a brief visit.
Please know that, because of a visit's inherent break in routine, you are not seeing us as we really are. Because we are not in our own space, or because our space has been invaded by others, we are not quite sure what to do with ourselves. Because we are doing more, or less, than we normally do, we are cranky and tired or restless.
It's probably true that my friend's children are rowdy when they are around their grandparents, but they are so much more than just rowdy, and I understand my friend's pain and disappointment that their grandparents would see them through that filter. My children are so much more as well. Grant us grace, and see them.