This was the time in our lives when it was supposed to be just the two of us, travelling, pursuing our adult interests and hobbies, and doting on and spoiling our granchildren. Instead we drew the "go back to start" card and are doing it all over again -- from the diapers and all-nighters (thankfully once again we are past those) to PTA and teacher conferences, children's toys and TV, to (in the not-so-distant future) the boys calling and us being the most ignorant, squarest, strictest puritans on the planet, bent on destroying her social life and keeping her locked in the basement. Our little easy child 1 doesn't get to have grandparents, because we are instead the parents. We can't indulge her and then hand her back to mom and dad, because we are mom and dad. Her great-grandparents, those that are still alive, have to fill the role (and they're doing a fine job in the doting and spoiling-then-handing-back departments) but they are getting up there in years; my grandparents were in their forties and fifties when I was her age, hers are in their seventies and eighties. Most of our friends are twenty- and thirty-something first-time-around parents, not part of our generation -- it would be nice to have more friends our age, but not so many of them are anxious to go out with the couple who have to get back home to pay the babysitter and put the kid to bed. Then again we have a chance to do things differently this time. I now realize how precious these years are. I try to get in as many hours a day playing with and doing things with easy child 1 as I can because I know how quickly her childhood will pass and fade into memory. And lets face it, I was 42 when she was born (young for a grandparent, fortunately) and the actuarial tables give me 10 to 20 years fewer to be a part of her life, if God grants me to live a normal life-span. Being veterans, wife and I are not prone to panic over every skinned knee and cold, and we do enjoy mentoring and being the go-to folks for advice among those first-timer parents. I guess the thing that most bothers me is to have difficult child just oblivious to all this. She doesn't see how her choices impacted wife and me. She can't understand the pain we feel, for both their sakes, when her daughter wants her to pay attention so bad and difficult child just blows her off, "Don't bother me! Go play!" She can't fathom the resentment that builds up over it. I step in and play and read with her and go fishing or bike riding and difficult child just assumes that I am happy to do it -- which I am, but I still resent having to do it because she won't -- which makes me feel guilty, since I shouldn't resent an opportunity to play with my granddaughter -- and the guilty feeling then adds to the resentment. Vicious circle. I can see what a waste it is for difficult child to squander the time that she could use to be bonding with easy child 1 on watching 10-year-old sitcom reruns on TV or sleeping. It is like being given a precious old book full of wisdom and tearing the pages out to use for toilet paper. And part of it is that I myself similarly wasted a lot of precious time on me when difficult child and the other kids were small. I know how desperately I wish that I could have those hours, days, weeks, months and years again to do what was important and not fritter away. "If I knew then what I know now", as the saying goes. But there is no way to make difficult child aware of how it is when you get up to my age and regret lost opportunities. I might as well try to teach the dog to read. I don't guess I had a point in posting this. Just rambling. Thanks to all of you for being here to post to. And to the other grandparents raising grandchildren, of which there are so many here in PE -- thanks for being here, and thanks for stepping up to the plate for your grandkids. I understand and appreciate you far more than others not in our shoes can imagine.