My grandparents are long gone, and I have many different memories of them. My maternal grandmother died when I was a young teen. I remember one-time lying-in bed with her and noticing her hand with the veins protruding. I asked if they hurt. She looked at me and laughed, and said “No, it’s just what happens when you get old. After all, I am half a century now!”. Half a century seemed so old.
Now, in my 70’s I became a grandmother for the first time. Being a grandparent changes your world in so many ways. I want my grandchildren to really get to know me as a person that is important in their lives.
What can families do to make the connections strong between children and grandparents?
Have frequent visits
During this Covid19 pandemic we may not be able to physically visit but having weekly Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or Portal meetings really helps. By having frequent visits, we have time for more chatter and remembrances. Stories can be exchanged. Grandparents can tell grandchildren stories about their parents when they were little. We can chat about trips taken as a family and how we hope to go on trips with them in the future. I enjoy sitting at their table with them virtually while they share a meal and chat.
Sharing strengthens bonds and artwork is a great personal thing to share. I love to see and receive artwork from my grandson. I enjoy his sharing explanations of his drawings and I love to see his smile when I show him where his latest work is hanging on my fridge. I have a few pieces that his father made when he was young. They are fun to share as well.
Share pictures of outings
I get such delight over seeing pictures and videos of my grandson trekking through the parks, playing in the stream with his dad (my son) and splashing in the mud with his mom. I send him (via his dad) pictures of my outings and not only do we talk about them, but his dad also shares comments he has made about my outings when just talking at home. All of this makes us grandparents feel a part of the family.
Share favorite books
I enjoy seeing what my grandson’s favorite book is at the moment and I love to share with him what his dad’s favorite books were when he was that age and what my favorite books were when I was young. I especially love to see him read a book that Diane Quintana and I wrote together – Benji’s Messy Room (named after his father Ben!) The book sharing seems to make a strong connection between the generations.
Grandparent’s Day is September 13 this year. It is a day for celebrating the connections between generations, and its origin was noncommercial. Today the holiday has remained true to its roots. The purpose of the holiday is “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
Grandparents are our family and they won’t be around forever. Make the memories now!
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer and owner of Time Space Organization and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of three books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing, virtual organizing, and moderates a Zone Plan Teleclass for those who prefer to work on their own with organizational coaching.