I was extremely fortunate to grow up knowing all four of my grandparents. I grew up physically around them, and they all four played an important role in my life. I have fond and concrete memories of spending time with them. My memories of childhood holidays are grounded in traditions that were centered around visiting and spending time at my grandparents’ homes. I spent summers at my Mimi’s house with all of my cousins. Christmas’s were spent hopping from my mom’s parents to my dad’s parent’s house.
And then just all of the in between and ‘ordinary’ times we spent with them… to name a few…
My Papa would always take us to the gas station with him where he’d buy us all little candy treats. I remember watching soaps with my Mimi during the summers. I was a chatty little girl and my Pawpaw would always threaten to mute me with his remote when he was trying to enjoy some old western show on the television. I vividly remember Sunday mornings spent with my Mawmaw in our church nursery while she sat in a wooden rocking chair watching all the young toddlers and babies.
And while my grandparents were involved in my life – they really can’ t hold a candle to the way that my parents and Shaun’s parents actively pursue ways to be in our children’s lives. It’s a beautiful thing that brings me to tears to think of how lucky we are that our parents accept nothing less than total involvement in the lives of our children on a regular basis.
We lost Shaun’s mom late last year – and as death tends to do – it has made me all the more thankful for her part in helping to raise my children. She wouldn’t let us put Cooper in a daycare. She and Shaun’s dad watched both our babes until Cooper was in school and until her declining health no longer let her watch Sophie. Everyone said that Sophie was probably too young to even really feel the impact of losing Mawmaw, but even at three years old – Sophie Grace has felt the loss in a profound way. She often speaks of her Mawmaw and says things like she wants to be a doctor so she can fix Mawmaw when she grows up.
Our parents have not ever waited for us to bring the kids to them. They were there beside the hospital bed as soon as each one took their first breaths, and they see them every single week. My parents take the kids most every single Friday night, and Shaun’s dad comes over to our house at least once a week to simply sit and play and visit with the kids.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve come across an online article spouting the health benefits for grandparents if they are involved in their grandchildren’s lives. I wholeheartedly believe that claim, because we all need something/someone to live for. But – we’re really the lucky ones. Us (their children) and our children are lucky to have such actively involved grandparents. Grandparents who are selflessly involved and outrageously generous with their time. You can throw every dime you own at someone you love, but if you aren’t investing your time – are you really truly showing love?
There are no amount of words that I could use to truly express my gratitude and how filled up my heart is over the ways that our parents show their love for our children. And I would just urge you – to look at our parents’ model for showing love and apply it to your own life in some way. We have this one life to live, and what really and truly makes it worthwhile are all the moments spent with those that we love: The big moments and the ordinary moments. Take advantage of the time you have and fill it up with memories that will outlast even your own life and trickle down through the people you leave behind.