Pure Joy, Pure Love, Pure Wonder
Hello again Boomers. We spent the last three days talking about caregiving for our senior-senior parents and loved ones, now let’s talk about the care we need to give to our wonderful grandchildren. In our case, it is our great niece and great nephew, where I just spent several days in the Los Angeles area looking after them due to a family matter involving grandparents.
My niece and her husband were attending the funerals of his grandparents. Their funerals were held simultaneously because they died within a week of one another. It was truly one of those cases where one grandparent follows the first because of a broken heart.
It’s definitely not the same as what I have to do with my parents, who are totally dependent on me and their healthcare providers, but it is essential I stand by the ready to help look after the little ones, ages, 8 and 4, when the need arises. And let me tell you, the pace of play is a whole lot different. These little people have boundless energy and require a great deal of planning for their meals, homework and indoor and outdoor activities. I take the responsibility very seriously because they will try to push the limits with me, whereas they probably would not with their parents. So, things like TV time is minimized and skateboarding in the street is a total no-no, but when they nestle next to you and ask you to read them story—that’s when your heart melts.
As important as it is to care-give to your elderly loved ones, it is equally important to care for and give to your younger loved ones. It is usually you that gives all the joy, love and wonder to our senior-seniors, on the other hand, it is you that gets to be on the receiving end of the joy, love and wonder from our grandchildren and grandnieces and nephews. What a treasure.
While we played games and romped in the yard, I wanted to do something special for the parents when they arrived home from a day filled with sadness. So we baked cookies. What a great way to spend time together teaching them and enjoying the throwing of flour and cookie dough. But in the end, we had a treat they could present to their parents when they arrived home, and take an immense amount of pride in a job well-baked. You can only imagine my pride when I saw the smiles on all their faces when they dug into the tasty treats.
I always hear the little voice from our great niece saying, Aunt Connie, it’s been too long since you’ve visited. That little voice was silent while I was there, and I fulfilled my promise to visit and spend time with two children that I just adore.
This should be a calling to all your Boomers out there to get off your duff and spend some quality time with your grandchildren, doing whatever suits you and the climate you live in. If you’re so lucky to be called Grandma or Grandpa, your life is rich. All over again, you’re given the opportunity to be inspired by the innocence and wonder of childhood; to see the world through the eyes of a child; to love unconditionally with all your heart; and to bestow your wisdom and family traditions to the next generation. What a gift.
Inasmuch as my BoomerGuy and I do not have children, we loved and cherished our niece as though she was our own. One of our greatest blessings has been bearing witness to the overwhelmingly beautiful relationship between my niece, her husband and their children. The joy they bring each other and the immeasurable love they share are gifts our whole family treasures. Each of them is better in every way because of it.
While I shared several of the things we did this past week, here are some ideas you may wish to use to make the most of the time with your grandchildren.
Children are naturally curious and love stores. Give them details about when you were a kid—what you played, what you liked to eat, where you lived, and what life was like back then. Describe some of the dreams you had and what you did for a living, and the many places you visited. All of this will help them understand their place in your family and in the world, and what life can be like. You’ll bond with them and laugh with them. There just isn’t anything better.
There are so many to name, suffice it to say bring out some of the games in the closet, create new games that stimulate their imagination, and show them some of the games you played as a child, or in today’s technology, on your smart phone. Oh my, they can use the phones and computers better than us. Soak up the joy in sharing a most important pastime with your grandchildren.
TEACH THEM SKILLS
Do not let your grandchildren grow up without knowing life’s lessons and skills. Tell them about right and wrong, encourage them to show you their passion and compliment them, and let them know they can be at your side whenever you’re doing something interesting—like baking those magnificent cookies.
LISTEN TO THEM
Let your grandchildren tell you their stories and all they have to say. Be a good listener and comfort to them. From the little things to the big things, be attentive to it all. You will be surprised how something so innocent can lead to an even stronger love and relationship.
BEND THE RULES
Be careful, but have fun. Their parents are surely to have certain rules, but it’s OK to bend them slightly when they’re in your care. The extra scoop of ice cream, staying up a bit later, and trying on your tie or lipstick. Or how about the toy you purchased just for them because they liked it, along with extra-large popcorn at the movies. Bend the rules, but don’t break them.
SCHEDULE MORE VISITS
I harken back to the voice of my great niece when she said, Aunt Connie it’s been too long since you’ve been here. I realize everyone is running hard, but make the time and do so with some regularity. Making a schedule or routine for visiting will greatly increase how often you see your grandchildren and strengthen your family bonds in immeasurable ways.
I wanted to share this caregiving piece because I find it wonderfully inspirational, and what can eventually be so heartwarming. I remember my visits to my grandparents with such clarity and pleasure. Do the same for yours, and care give to the fullest.
Your BoomerGal, Connie.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Editorial contribution by Barbara Danza, The Epoch Times