What it’s like to be brought up by your grandparents

It’s not all about the Werther’s Originals

As an only child brought up by my grandparents, I had some pretty different experiences to my other friends.

It’s not all old peoples’ homes and boiled sweets – although we do have a never-ending supply of mints and wine gums in the car, and I have inherited a wealth of “old people words” like channel changer instead of remote, and fizzy pop for any kind of sugary drink.

It’s like living with any other parent, but old people are just better.

You get brought up on ace music

The Rolling Stones, Eurythmics, Queen, Clapton, Bowie… I could go on. Older generations had THE BEST music, and, as a result, so did I.

When all my friends were obsessed with the Spice Girls and S Club 7, I never really heard it because my grandparents were having none of it – car journeys were for CDs, not the radio. And I can’t really see them buying a Backstreet Boys CD anyway.

They text in the best way

“How do you get those little pictures when you send text messages?”

Yeah, I taught my gran to use emojis. Best decision ever. I absolutely love getting texts from her – always including emojis that have nothing to do with the message in general, that she seems to have picked at random ‘because they’re pretty’. Plus, they’re the most informative texts I ever get, giving me a play-by-play of the day’s events.

At the other end of the spectrum, my granddad texts without any emotion or punctuation – everything reads like it should be said in a monotone with the enthusiasm of the shipping forecast – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Getting them to do young people things is amazing

It’s a bit of a novelty getting them involved with events aimed at a younger generation – you just have to sign them up, explain later, then hope to god they enjoy themselves once they’re there.

Doing the Colour Run with my granddad was one of those situations.  He wasn’t really listening when I explained it to him, waving his hand, saying: “Go on, sign me up, sounds good.”

He got the shock of his life once we arrived and he saw people being doused in coloured powder while running 5k.

Once we got going he really got into it, rolling on the floor in the powder at one of the stops – he loved it, especially his bragging rights at the golf club for being “down with the kids.”

Plus, my gran agreed to do shots at my graduation. She’s the best.

Wine time is all the time

There’s nothing my grandparents love more than a nice glass of red. Growing up, they had a very French attitude to children and wine: you drink it until you like it. And after you like it, you drink it waayyyyyy more.

They’re the only people I know who genuinely swill wine around the glass at restaurants (and actually know what they’re doing) before deciding if it’s nice or not, rather than the customary sip and inevitable “yeah, why not”.


It means my mum is like my sister

My mum was young and still living at home when she had me, so my mum and uncles were brought up by my grandparents as well.

This means we have an almost sibling relationship – I was at my uncle’s 21st, partying from my pushchair. Being an only child, it’s ace to have three pseudo-siblings, and even better when one of them is your mum – nights out have never been so good.

Bonus: I’ve never been told off by my mum. Although a grandparent’s “disappointed” face is so much worse.

Mum and Gran: the cocktail drinkers

All in all, living with my grandparents is the best: I wouldn’t have it any other way.