Out of all the memories I have of my grandparents, what do I recall with the most fondness?
As a child, each year could be described as a roller coaster with many ups and downs. The anticipation leading up to Christmas Eve was like the slow climb up the final, steep incline on that roller coaster. Just thinking about spending the next few days at both sets of grandparents playing with long-distance cousins, eating all the cookies, pie and candy I wanted, hoping for snow, and opening presents was almost more than I could handle.
The reality was that my siblings and I would end up fighting with our cousins, I always ended up with a stomach ache from eating too many sweets, it never snowed, and a few days after Christmas I was bored with my new presents. I know my grandparents put a lot of energy (and money) into making the holidays great but looking back I don’t remember spending any alone time with them. They were too busy being good hosts, while taking care of everyone’s needs, to play with me.
The same could be said about my grandparents organizing trips to the zoo, family reunions and birthday parties. While all these things were fun times with my grandparents, family photos are the only way I remember any details regarding those events; so what do I remember about my grandparents in which don’t need old photographs to flood my mind with vivid details of emotions.
I remember my grandfather giving me his Swiss Army knife, pouring me a glass of Pepsi, and showing me how to whittle a car out of a block of wood so I could compete in the local Cub Scout’s Pinewood Derby race. I remember taking my grandmother by the hand and leading her down into the basement I was too afraid to go to by myself. She would open up the mysterious closet door and pull out musty smelling books and games, which had belonged to my father and his brothers, and play with me for hours. I remember the smell of salt water and the sound of my grandparent’s laughter as my grandfather had to hold onto my pant’s belt so I wouldn’t fall overboard as I struggled to reel in my first salmon.
On Thursday mornings, Karen and I watch three of our grandkids for an hour until their mother gets off work. Yesterday, Karen asked me if we could give our daughter a break and watch the kids all afternoon. In my mind I rattled off a list of things I needed (desired) to accomplish that day like:
- Assemble our new barbeque which came with a million parts.
- Go to the dentist for my broken filling.
- Call Costco’s concierge service over a computer glitz because I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to computer problems.
- Take an afternoon nap.
- And figure out what I would write for my next blog post.
Instead of accomplishing anything on that list, except for a glorious trip to the dentist, we decided to invest the best gift you can give to your grandkids (or kids); the gift of our undivided attention. We played basketball, jumped rope, threw water balloons, built a fort, hurled magnetic darts at a felt baseball diamond, and engaged in a games of checkers and Blokus. And while I didn’t get my afternoon nap, the youngest granddaughter did.
What are your favorite memories with your parents or grandparents? What can you do to make unforgettable memories with your loved ones?