Are all things equal? We love our Grands: We may like some of them more than we like others but we love them all. Those of us who have step-grands love them too. Even if we don't, we learn from the step-parents who are our adult children, that the step Grands will be treated equally--at the risk of a family breach.
Friends of ours, whose daughter has two tween step kids as well as toddler twins of her own, figured this out recently. They invited the daughter, her husband and the twins to celebrate their 40th anniversary with them at a resort in the Caribbean. They did not initially invite the step kids since the Steps spent most of their time living at their mother's house. Our friends knew those kids only fleetingly. But it was spring break and their daughter "asked" her parents, who were picking up the tab for the trip, to include the two step kids as well. This was not something their daughter could afford to pay for. Our friends agreed to do it, but out of earshot of their daughter, they groused at the additional expense (two more air fares and a larger townhouse) and at the intrusion of two kids they didn't know well into the family mix. (Their son and his family were also coming, also on the grandparent tab.) But their daughter made it clear that the step kids were her kids, even if they only lived under her roof on alternative weekends, and that her parents should not think otherwise.
I'm reminded of that extravaganza (it turned out to be a lovely vacation and a delightful 40th anniversary celebration) by advice in a recent Carolyn Hax column.
The writer, who says she loves her son's young teen children as well as the new wife and her two tween kids, wants guidance on birthday gift giving. Her query, "If I give everyone the same amount or same gift, I feel the “grans” will feel slighted because I am THEIR grandmother. If I give the “step-grans” a lesser gift, I feel they will feel slighted. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Carolyn Hax's answer reflects the ultimate decision our friends, despite the grousing, came to: "Kids are kids and grandparents are grandparents. Love is love. Equal gifts for all."