Creating Memories with Grandparents
03/24/2016 08:40AM ● Published by Hood Magazine
Memories have always fascinated me; particularly childhood memories. How we retain certain ones and not others boggles my mind. What makes one memory more ‘memorable’ than another? I don’t necessarily remember much about my first day of school, my first bike ride, or my first dance recital…but I do remember a particular snapshot in time with my grandma – riding in her car during a trip to Omaha. Why would I remember (with impressive detail I might add) that seemingly insignificant moment of my life with my grandma? I have no answers, but it did get me thinking about the importance of the grandparent-grandchild relationship.
Think about all of the influencers from your childhood; parents, friends, coaches, teachers, etc. If you’re like me, grandparents ranked right up there…and I consider myself very fortunate. The grandparent relationship is different than any other. They fill all kinds of roles: caregivers, historian, buddy, hero, mentor, nurturer, etc. Mine were and are a combination of many of those roles.
Some of my childhood memories of my grandparents include making fun crafts with Grandma Karyl, reading the newspaper with Grandpa Chuck, watching Grandpa Noble clean fish he caught at the lake cabin, and baking bread with Grandma Myrtle (and how she’d playfully slap the dough in my face when I wasn’t looking). I remember eating pepper pickles, playing card games, getting those cool $2 bills in the mail (I still do, by the way), along with many other tiny details that all add up to something big.
Five years ago I became a first-time mom, and my parents were promoted to ‘grandparents’. Now that we have two children, my husband and I enjoy watching our kids interacting and developing their own relationship with both sets of grandparents. I wonder what experiences they will remember most? Will it be “earning” their dollar every time they see Grandma? Will it be going down the waterslide with them for the millionth time? Will it be fishing with Grandpa at the river? What special memories haven’t even been made yet?
If your kids don’t have a grandparent-type in their lives, visit an area retirement community and ask about an intergenerational mentorship program. There are plenty of older adults who would gladly welcome that opportunity.
Most of all, don’t take them for granted. Be purposeful in carving out time for your kids and their grandparents to create their own memories; I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy given our busy schedules. But life is short. Create those important intergenerational memories and give your children the gift of time with their grandparents. WARNING: High sugar levels are usually involved.