I believe in the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. I believe that a bond forged from the moment of birth offers grandparents the greatest gift in life: the opportunity to continue growing. That other grandparents are as eager as I to share stories confirms my belief.
My grandchildren teach me humility with humor. When Brennan was five, he studied my face and solemnly announced in the middle of a busy doctor’s office, “You’re old.”
Eager to discover how he had come to this conclusion, I took a risk. “How do you know?” His response was immediate. “Because you have zombie skin with bones sticking out.” Who else but a grandchild could both double you over in laughter and ensure your humility with innocent candor?
My grandchildren teach me love by sharing their interests and their lives with me. I have learned more about computer games, websites, fencing, karate and movies of every ilk than I could have imagined.
At Christmas one presented me with a homemade Christmas card with magazine cutouts of the movies we have seen together and this greeting inside: “I love watching movies with you, and I love talking about them with you afterwards even more.” This, when I needed no reward beyond the hundreds of nights we have spent, sprawled across the sofa bed enthralled in the fantasy or horror of science fiction or the embarrassment of a coming-of-age drama.
My grandchildren teach me faith and hope. While we were watching Morgan Freemn in “Evan Almighty,” Brady, age 7, asked, “Is God brown?” Before I could respond, he gave himself the answer he needed: “I think if you took all the people in the world and mixed them together, they wold be the color of God, because God loves everybody.” I didn’t teach him to say that. It is a concept he understands instinctively, and his perception enriches my faith and gives me hope for the future.
Over the last 13 years my daughter’s willingness to share her children with me– teacing them respect for an older generation–has allowed a deep bond to be forged between me and them. This bond has given me the opportunity to right some of the mistakes I made as a busy, self-absorbed parent who forgot at times that children come with their own DNA.
The fact that she and her family choose to live nearby gives me a chance many grandparents do not have–the chance to open my heart to her children on a regular basis, to accept and be accepted, to enjoy them for who they are and have the potential to become.
That grandchildren can rescue grandparents from reaching old age devoid of faith, hope, love, humility and humor, and can gain understanding and acceptance in the process, is one of life’s large miracles. This I believe.
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