This week, as school fires up for another year, there was a collective sigh of relief as exhausted grandparents around the country slumped into their recliners and put their feet up. Mind you, it was probably hard to hear them over the sound of wailing teachers.
Modern parents now work longer hours to afford life’s necessities, i.e.: house, car, four wheel drive, private school, private health, professional hair styling, nail art, alcohol and pay TV subscription.
And with day care centres harder to get into than a Wiggles Concert, many retirees are being pressed into the role of holiday babysitters, entertainment directors, taxi drivers and prison warders.
That is, the grandparents who didn’t buy caravans and scuttle out of Dodge City before the holidays started.
Now, kids are a lively, curious, eager, fun loving and overly energetic bunch, so lumping them daily, for weeks on end, with a group of folk whose most active and enthusiastic days are long gone, is a little bit cruel; for both teams.
And the price of some holiday activities can pull pensioners up faster than a double hip replacement. On my annual outing to the movies with the Littlest Princess, I watched the old dear in front of us recoil in shock when told how much it was going to cost for her three grandchildren to eat snacks in front of the latest Disney offering.
As we toddled off, she was leaning on the counter clutching her chest and probably wishing her pension was linked to the ‘Movie Popcorn Price Index’.
But this week, the little ones are back at school and weary Nanas and Pops are gratefully slipping back into their normal routines of quiet morning teas, mid-afternoon naps, specialists visits and writing angry letters to the paper; at least until Easter arrives.