I have always been close with my whole family, especially my maternal grandmother. I have memory upon memory of the times I spent with her. We attended church every week, followed by lunch and shopping at the local mall. We spent many summer days wandering around the small town she lived in, picking apples from the trees in her back yard, swinging and climbing on the swing set, and jumping and fighting over who got to jump next on her old school single person trampoline!
She also owned a lake house in Michigan where we spent much of the summer swimming, boating, exploring and building family memories. Every year on my birthday she took time to send me a birthday card, and every year it came with a five dollar bill, up until the year she passed when I was in my twenties. I can’t imagine my childhood without her in my life.
Part of who I am is because of my grandmother, and I want my children to look back on their childhood and have the same kinds of fond memories of time spent with their grandparents. I want them to have a special place in their hearts for their grandparents, just as I do.
We recently went on a family trip and happened to be heading close to where my paternal grandfather (the boys’ great grandfather) lives – about three hours from us. We decided to take an extra day so we could spend a day and a night at his house. As the boys got to know and spend time with their great grandpa, I couldn’t help but smile.
And after the boys went to bed for the night, my husband and I got to sit up and hear him share stories about the past, stories that I had never heard. Stories about my grandmother that I never met. Stories about my dad as a child. Stories about my grandpa and his life over the years. Stories that made me sad that I hadn’t had more of a relationship with him when I was younger.
I vowed to myself that next day when we left that our children would have a relationship with each of their grandparents. More than just the holiday or special get-together. I want them to truly experience who their grandparents are and the things that make them special. I want my children to look back someday and be thankful that they were able to get to know their grandparents before it was too late.