The Richness of Elders
Just Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer, The Grandma Book by Todd Parr, and Here Comes Grandma by Janet Lord. What do these stories have in common? They all involve young people relating with their grandparents. These, among many other books, speak on grandchild - grandparent relationships. Aside from reading such stories or hearing of my friend's tales; I never had the opportunity to know any of my grandparents.
My parents married and decided to uproot their lives, move to North America, for a "better life". In doing so, they left their parents, all of their siblings (which there are many) and every friend they had ever known; never to be seen again. Okay - so it may not have been exactly that dramatic. However growing up, I knew so little about my grandparents that I would not have been able to pick them out of a crowd and that's the raw truth.
I felt like I missed out on so much, not really knowing my 'grands'. I dreamt of hearing story after story about "the way things were" in their day; about smelling the aroma of their comfort cooking; using their welcoming lap to rest my head and falling limp into their extra long hugs. I wanted to hear the sound of their echoing laughter and feel the strength of their helping hands. I thought I could bask in their years of wisdom and someday, model their proven work ethic. I just wanted to clearly and purely see them... physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Today, older and I like to think wiser. I believe some good can come from any situation. The absence of my grandparents in my life created such emense appreciation for my own parents, now grandparents to seven boys. I've made a commitment to give my kids as much time as possible with them. I live close and visit often. I am bearing witness to how my children's lives are being enriched in indelible ways.
I share all this to ask and to say, if you are fortunate enough to have parents, grandparents, supportive older people in your life, please don't take their presence for granted. Be in the moment, make the time to connect and capitalize on the benefits having the gift of elders can bring to your life.