One of the benefits of being a grandparent is we're allowed to be easier on the grandkids, laughing when the parents are crying, snickering when the little ones are driving our adult kids crazy.

I got a phone call this week from a frustrated father, one of my sons.

"The boys were so bad, you won't believe what they did," he tells me.

Now before I go on, let me explain there has been an ongoing battle with drinks at bedtime and children who ever stop eating.

The boys, ages 5 and 7, are cut off by their parents for bedtime drinks at a certain time and no more snacks after dinner.

So when I got the phone call about the bad little grandsons...I had to laugh. I couldn't help it. The boys apparently got up in the middle of the night, dumped several bottles of water on a pile of clean clothes; ate an entire loaf of bread; and threw cheese everywhere.

I can only imagine my son's face when he got up the next morning. I think the boys chose pretty realistic activities that carried pretty clear messages myself, but no one was laughing except me.

I used to get upset too when I had rules set and my children wouldn't listen.

But after all I've been through over the past three decades if I've learned anything - it's laugh. Smile when you want to yell. Hug when you want to spank. Talk when you have calmed down. I'm not going to get into a big discussion about spanking vs. not spanking here today. Frankly, my dad spanked us. By the time I was about 10 years old, I decided spanking was not for me and I stopped getting in trouble - or stopped getting caught. I forget which one.

I do believe my grandsons have some things on their minds. I don't think they feel like anyone is listening to them. Like their grand-mom, they have a hard time holding in their feelings.

Truth is, when all is said and done, this bread-cheese-water incident will be a story their dad will tell at a family cookout twenty years from now when they are chasing their youngins around.

And everyone will laugh. Might as well start now