Time with grandparents ‘is priceless’
When I was a child, my brother and I delivered flowers and a special certificate to our grandparents one day a year.
The occasion was Grandparents Day, a day we made sure to pay them a visit and shower them with extra love.
My mom’s mother was a well-educated woman who had a career as a nurse and raised a family of five and took in foster children with medical needs.
She served on the New MIlford Board of Ed, was active in the church where she held numerous leadership roles, and grew African violets in her home and sold them throughout the community.
She had a deep faith, believed one was never too old to learn and was an avid reader.
And she was a fantastic Scrabble player.
She introduced me to the game at a young age and is the person I credit for instilling in me a competitive edge and my love for the English language.
My dad’s mom worked hard, raised a family of four, baked bread and listened to 8 tracks.
She loved to read and took me with her regularly to the library so I could take out books too, carried a camera with her and took photos of nearly everything even though she didn’t have an eye for composition, and tended to her gardens with love.
She was an observer and shared stories of her family. Those stories taught me about history and planted in me the seeds that led to my exploration of my family tree.
Spending time with my grandparents, mostly my two grandmothers, was one of the most important parts of my childhood.
I was blessed to witness their strengths and commitments, as well as those of one of my grandfathers, who died when I was 10 (my other grandfather died when I was an infant).
My grandparents were role models who imparted wisdom, stability and unconditional love unto me. And having the opportunity to participate in activities and share stories with them were priceless.
When I had children, I wanted to give the kids the same gifts I received from my grandparents, and I prayed they would build significant relationships with them as I had with mine. As the kids grew, I shared how I found value in my grandparents, setting the stage for one of the most significant relationships kids can have with elders.
Fortunately, my prayer was answered.
My two children have built healthy relationships with all five of their grandparents — and it began the day they were each born.
Love blossomed the moment their grandparents set eyes on the children. And the kids have been blessed to be close to three grandparents, all within an easy drive, and have kept in touch regularly and visited as often as possible with the other two out of state.
Cards, letters, calls, FaceTime chats, personal visits are how the kids keep in touch with them.
We’ve gotten creative with the grandparents who reside out of state. Since we don’t often get to spend holidays with them, we have brought the holidays to them on our visits. It keeps things fun and means even more, at least to me.
After all, it’s about making memories.
Earlier this year, the kids said goodbye to one of their grandparents. They had experienced other close deaths, but this was the closest, thus the rawest. Sitting them down to give them the news, which wasn’t unexpected — we’d been preparing for a while, but that doesn’t make it any easier — was difficult.
They each sobbed uncontrollably. I held each of them, as I had when they were infants, protecting them, but this time it didn’t settle them. I felt helpless. And I reflected on how I felt when I lost each of my grandparents.
The kids will always have fond memories of their grandmother. And they have a new perspective on just how impactful grandparents can be and really value the time they do have now with the remaining four grandparents.
As we head into Grandparents Day this Sunday, I’ll reflect on the precious gifts my grandparents gave to me and those my children have received from their grandparents.
Happy Grandparents Day to all the grandparents out there, and to those who may not be biologically related but have assumed that role in a child’s life.
Deborah Rose is a lifelong New Milford resident who has worked at The Spectrum since its inception in 1998. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.