When I arrive at my daughter and son-in-law’s Brooklyn apartment on Thursdays, my 18-month-old granddaughter hurtles toward me with her still lurch-y gait, happy for our weekly date.
While her parents work, we spend the day doing toddler stuff — reading favorite books six times in a row, singing about spiders and stars, placing objects into containers and dumping them out again, going to the park, napping (baby, not Bubbe, alas). If we’re lucky, I spend half an hour with the whole family, once my daughter gets home, then head back to my place in New Jersey.
The routine I call “Bubbe Day” (for the Yiddish word for grandmother) has come to feel so natural that I never stopped to consider whether it would have unfolded differently if my granddaughter had been a son’s child, not a daughter’s. But it might well have.
You hear this often: Paternal grandparents tread very carefully, mindful that a daughter-in-law might not appreciate their overtures or their frequent presence, anxious that she could limit access to their grandkids.
I thought it an old stereotype, possibly never accurate and certainly now outmoded.
But researchers exploring family affiliations point out that a so-called “matrilineal advantage” does exist. That is, daughters generally have closer ties to their own parents than to their in-laws, which leads to warmer relationships between their children and the maternal grandparents.
Read more at the New York Times.