How having a close relationship with their great grandparents has taught my kids valuable life lessons in ways I could have never done.
As many of you know, Apryl’s grandma sadly passed away last week after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. It got me thinking about my own grandparents, who are 89 and 91, and how lucky I am to have such a close relationship with them. I see them often, and talk to them almost daily. I’m even more touched by how blessed my girls are for getting so many quality years with them.
My Nan has always been like a second mom to me. Often driving me to skating or other activities if my parents were taking one of my siblings elsewhere. She and my Grandad were always there to babysit us growing up and their home was just as familiar as our own. My siblings and I don’t have any cousins on that side of the family so we were even more spoiled not having to share attention with anyone but ourselves.
With so much going on these days, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with my amazing grandparents and realized it’s their relationship with my kids that I’m most proud of. I can see how spending time with their great grandparents has helped shape my kids into better humans. It’s helped teach them things in a real way, that I’m not sure I would have ever been able to really instill in them, despite my best attempts.
3 Things My Kids Have Learned From My Grandparents
As my grandparents have gotten older they’ve understandably slowed down. When my Nan broke her hip a few years ago it meant about a year of rehabilitation and learning to walk again. Amazingly she is back up and walking (something not all seniors are able to do after such a severe injury) with only the use of a cane. However, she is slower than she once was and the girls can easily run laps around us as we make our way through the mall or wherever we may be heading. My girls understand that Nanny can’t keep up with them and have learned the importance of slowing down to stay with Nan and to not rush her. They’ve learned to be calmer and more careful when walking alongside her. Most impressively it’s something they do on their own without much input from me.
Courtesy and Consideration
My grandparents are from the UK, which means proper manners and etiquette was always ingrained in us, especially at family dinners and special occasions. The same goes for my kids, however spending time with their great grandparents has also taught them to be courteous. They offer a hand to steady my Nan as she steps down from a curb, hold the door for seniors without being asked and offer to carry heavier bags when helping my Grandad back up to their condo. While this is something I ask of them regularly it’s been pretty impressive to see them start to do this without prompting whenever they see a need.
My grandparents are incredibly giving and my Nan is by far the most generous person I know. Often buying gifts for my friends who have babies or sending cards for birthdays or to wish someone well. She spoils us all just because she was thinking of us and loves to give gifts. But beyond material items she is always thinking of others and how she can help. That kind of sincerity and caring is something the girls have noticed over the years. Of course they love getting spoiled and receiving gifts but as they’ve gotten older they’ve started wanting to give something back. Usually that means making pictures and drawings to show Nanny and Grandad how special they are. It’s the fact that they want to do something kind for someone else that makes me realize what a lesson this is to learn. And I’m not talking about just occasional moments of generosity, anytime the girls know we are going to be seeing my grandparents they set aside the time to do something sweet, just because they know it will make them happy.
I know not everyone has this kind of opportunity to spend time with their grandparents and that I’m incredibly lucky. But if spending more time with your grandparents is something you could be doing I encourage you to try and make the time. Because you won’t always have the chance, and usually there are some amazing lessons we can learn from them. Despite how difficult it may seem to always make the time, it’s one of the most influential relationships in my life and in my kids lives.