Most of our grandchildren live about an hour from us in one direction or another, making it relatively easy to take part in their lives. We’ve gone to aquariums and libraries with them. We’ve gone to their parades, school fairs, karate tournaments, and plays. We see them for their birthdays and much more. It’s wonderful.
No grandparent would tell you this is exactly mundane – although it is commonplace. These are important events for us, and we treasure every one of them. I’ve always suspected there’s a “stale date” on the coolness of spending time with grandparents, so we love it, for example, when our fourteen year old grandson chooses to go on a kayaking/camping trip with us each year instead of staying home with friends.
This is our normal comfortable rhythm with the local “grands.” But we have two other grandchildren who live 425 miles (seven hours) away. Those two we see at Easter, around Christmas, and at one or two family occasions annually – all events which include many other people. That’s why we drive over to see them when we can – and we’ll be doing that this weekend. We crave a little time with just their family.
We try to do memorable things with these children when we’re together, often outdoors. We’re hoping to maybe watch some of the meteor shower with them Sunday night – if the weather permits. It looks like we may have thunderstorms for at least part of the trip, though, so I headed off to pick up some fun new things to do. I found some learning games and crafts – and then, in the dollar aisle at Target, I found books.
Classic, stand-the-test-of-time stories, adapted slightly for ages seven and up. These are the books I read when I was six, seven, eight. The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, The Secret Garden, Dr. Doolittle, Treasure Island, and more. For $1.00 each. I couldn’t believe it – I felt tears welling up. My children can still remember me reading some of these to them when they were little, and I can remember my parents reading most of them with me. I bought quite a few.
Now, I can’t wait to get my granddaughter alone, to pull her close to my side, and talk a little about each of these books before she starts reading them. Her brother will have to wait a bit to appreciate these stories, but she will love them now. One of the greatest joys of my life is the love my children and their children have for books.
I was already excited about making the trip to see my son and his family. It’s always wonderful to see them, hug them, and catch up on their lives. It’s important to us to keep up with these children, and for them to know us. Phone calls are nice, but sitting together at a table making things a with clay, walking through the park together, or snuggling up with a wonderful story – these are the ways memories are made.
This trip, we’ll spend at least some of our time together sharing our love of the written word with our two long-distance “baby grands.” I can’t wait, and I can’t imagine a better legacy.
This post is in response to a WordPress Writing Challenge on the topic From Mundane to Meaningful. To learn more about the challenge and see some other entries, click here.