Useful thoughts about grandparents connecting with their grandkids

It all starts when that little bundle of joy wraps his or her tiny hand around Grandpa’s finger.

Now they have you……forever. Don’t fight it, the struggle is useless, you are hooked. The journey has begun. This is to be a journey of discovery for the new grandparents and for the repeat grandparents, still a thrill all the same.

After 6 grandchildren in the past 20 years I can attest that each time is breathtaking, awesome and wonderful. Aren’t you glad to hear the good news?

Well, as you may have guessed there is a challenge in this process as well. The challenge is to keep up with the changing landscape of time, growing up, family dynamics and geography to stay connected to our grandchildren.

Even under the best circumstances things change, people change, the economy changes. I say all of that to make you aware that it will take thought and effort if you hope to be mentioned as their favorite grandpa and most significant influence during their Valedictorian speech in Harvard square.

All kidding aside, I have found that I need to check in with my grandchildren and their parents regularly to stay up to date on what is important in the life of each of my grandkids. Since they range in age from 4 to 20 the subjects are obviously different but the principles are the same. The good Lord wisely gave me one mouth and two ears, so I ask good questions and listen and then listen some more.

I do admit that I sometimes need an interpreter for the two 4 year olds. One funny example happened when our granddaughter, Rene, was almost three and we were riding down the road listening to her share totally unconnected words with great enthusiasm. Just as my wife was applying her lip gloss we looked at each other with a big smile since we both heard a word that we recognized and jumped right on that bandwagon.

Rene said “Choo-Choo”, or so we thought, and we both chime in talking about the Little Train that could. I had read that very book to Rene a couple of weeks prior and I was so very proud that she had listened and remembered, or so I thought. Long story, long. When we got her home she explained to her Mom that “Mimi” had gone in her purse and that Rene wanted “Chew-Chew”. A good laugh ensued and Rene got her piece of chewing gum from her Mom’s purse. So much for clarification.

The reason I tell that story is that when they are young the connection is strong and steady but that too will pass. My granddaughter Alyce is in college and we are friends on Face book. Caution, it is not cool for a 20 year old to have their Grandpa posting on their Wall for all her friends to see. Actually I read almost all of her posts so I can keep up to date on the newest guy, how school is going, etc. My 20 year old Grandson, Zak is in my circle of friends on my mobile plan so we keep in touch mostly by phone and it doesn’t cost him that way. NOTE: He actually thinks his Grandpa knows some stuff about cars and things like that. Please don’t tell him differently.

These are just some thoughts about how we can all be the best Grandparents we know how.



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