My little Zaynab has two sets of grandparents — one local set in California, and the other is several thousand miles away in Palestine. This past September, we came to Palestine for an extended visit, and Z got the chance to finally meet her grandparents for the first time ever. It was love at first sight for everyone involved.
Hugs and kisses were intermingled with sweet treats every single day. It happened quicker than I could protest. And boy, did I protest. A lot. I don’t allow Zaynab so many sweets back at home. And the majority of the sweets we do eat are homemade. I wasn’t sure how to deal with the situation. I certainly didn’t want to offend my in-laws by turning down their sweet gifts of love towards their granddaughter. They were, after all, making up for lost time. On the other hand, I was worried about Z’s teeth and general health. What was this mama to do?
I sat back and let it happen. This situation was temporary. We’d be back home in a couple of weeks. Back to our routines and mostly healthy eating habits. But right then, they were building memories and making connections that needed to last all year long before our next visit. Zaynab and her grandparents wouldn’t have the chance to bond during the rest of the year. Video chats don’t replace sitting on your grandmother’s lap enjoying a biscuit soaked with sweet mint tea. Even though Zaynab won’t remember these moments, her grandparents would. It would give them sweet memories to look back on while they’re rocking away on their balcony.
They weren’t just spoiling her with sweets and treats. My father-in-law is incredibly active and ran around the house chasing after Z. She got piggyback rides and went on walks with him. My mother-in-law is a very nurturing woman. She enjoyed sitting Z directly in her lap or beside her, and would patiently peel all the fruit Z could manage to eat. As soon as Zaynab woke up each morning, the sound of her grandmother’s voice lit up her eyes and sent her running to greet her.
It was a fine balance between the treats and the tender moments. This trip was all about making memories and making connections. What’s a lollipop or two in the grand scheme of things?