SUMMER IS A GREAT TIME TO PRACTICE BEING PRESENT (WHICH ISN'T EASY - THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE)
You've worked hard to raise your children to be wonderful, self-sufficient, productive members of society. Now they are fully grown and have families of their own. They live with their children 24/7, have tremendous responsibilities and very little alone or down time. What can grandparents do to be truly helpful, to make a difference in both their children's and grandchildren's lives?
This is a question I asked myself when my oldest grandchild graduated from high school in June. Those darling little creatures you were fascinated by - watching as they grew up-are much like young children, in that they grow up quickly. I decided to reward him with a trip with "Mamaw."
I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska with my two oldest grandchildren, both boys. When was the last time you spent 24 hours a day/seven days a week by yourself with your grandchildren? Since I raised daughters with the help of a great husband, Neil, this
was in many ways a new experience for me. I raised my daughters with the help of a great husband, Neil, but this was in many ways a new experience for me. Alone with boys!!! Teenage boys to boot. They are both smart, friendly (sometimes) and respectful kids, and they brought me back to what it is like to live with children - especially teenagers. Why? Because we look at the world through a whole different set of eyes - while we may see the same scene, we interpret it differently. Well, isn't this natural and normal? You bet, but we all believe that other people see and experience the world in the same way that we do: which is definitely not the case. This is what makes communication such a challenge. Trying new things together gives you an opportunity to discuss what you saw, felt and experienced. My favorites were the dog sledding (Imagine me driving a dog sled, doesn't that make you laugh?) and line dancing with the boys every evening at 10:30pm when the sun set. But most of all, I enjoyed just having them all to myself so we could really get to know each other as unique individuals with different qualities and quirks. As they said, "This was a bonding experience."
Here are some summer survival tips for parents and grandparents:
* Deep breathe
* Have a sense of humor and enjoy a different point of view
* Keep children busy, but allow time for interactive games; I am the Queen of Rummy 500 and they try hard to beat "MaMaw"
* Exercise for all
* Schedule alone time and quiet time to do nothing
Your grandchildren are the gifts that keep on giving, rewarding you with a new perspective on life. Carpe diem.