Bridging the (Generational) Gap


My children are incredibly lucky to have a whole gaggle of grandparents.

My husband’s parents live literally within a stone’s throw of our house, my dad and step-mom live in easy driving distance. And although my stepdad, their Grampa Cantin, is in North Carolina, and my mom all the way in Oregon, we keep in close contact with them via phone, Skype, and multiple visits during the year. Not only that, but we are very blessed that our children have seven living great-grandparents who all live in Vermont and see us frequently. It is a blessing that I do not take lightly, as I know that many are not so lucky. I think it is incredibly important to foster strong bonds between the kids and the various grandparents – the older generation has much to teach the younger, and the children offer a fresh and hopeful view of the world that the grandparents have seen change so much in their lifetime.

woman, children, grandchildren, grandmother,

Growing up, Sundays were family days, often with traditional Sunday dinner early in the afternoon spent at any one of my grandparents’ homes along with uncles, aunts, and cousins. I spent many weekends and school vacations with my grandparents and cherish the memories made with them over the years. I would often sit down to play cribbage with my Pepa (along with a giant bowl of kettle-popped corn), or I would get lessons in embroidery with plastic canvas from my Meme. There were nights spent with my Nana watching I Love Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore marathons, and afternoons playing Tuc with my Poppa. What makes these memories all the more special is that it was just us. Sure, I spent plenty of time with my grandparents when my parents were around, but the really special moments were the ones when we were left to ourselves.

woman, older woman, grandmother, great grandmother
grammy and great-grammy

woman, girl, grandmother, granddaughter, hair braiding

I desperately want my children to have that kind of relationship with their grandparents. It is when wisdom is imparted, when guards are let down and both generations are free to just be. It’s hard sometimes to let go of that control as a parent – no prior planning, no agenda, just dropping the kids off with their grandparents and trusting that they’ll take care of the rest. And they will. So what if they get fed a little extra junk food or watch hours and hours of television that we wouldn’t let them do at home. That’s all part of the secret bond between grandchild and grandparent.

woman, little boy, grandmother, grandson, woman waving

I know someday, hopefully long from now, you won’t be around to do those things and I pray that your grandchildren have hundreds of happy memories of you.

So here is to you, grandparents – may you ever stuff our children full of sweets, let them stay up long past their bedtimes, and spoil them with noisy toys.


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