By Jon Ward
It’s been said, “Grandparents make the world a little softer, a little kinder, and a little warmer.”
I was fortunate enough to grow up knowing well three grandparents and two great grandparents. From them, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, I learned a great deal about the world, about life, and about the little nuances that create lasting value. They weren’t wealthy. Their homes were simple and small, yet time with them was sublime. They experienced the good and the bad of life while growing up and raising families. They weren’t perfect. Yet, they wore the years, the experiences, the battle wounds, the joys and the sorrows, with dignity and grace. The wisdom, the love, and the selflessness they exhibited, are silent beacons that continue to inspire. To me, they were the best.
WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON...I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK ABOUT THOSE YEARS AND THE IMPACT GRANDPARENTS CAN HAVE ON CHILDREN.
When I was six years old, my parents made a move to get closer to work and to build a house that more adequately fit our family of six kids. After selling our home and while waiting for our new home to be completed, we spent some time living with my grandparents. I can only imagine the strain this must have been on them going from empty nesters in their small brick home to housing a family of six youthful and energetic hooligans. It must have been a spectacle of stressful chaos (similar to the environment inside my home currently, with four young kids, a dog and two over-taxed adults trying to survive this time of social distancing 😬). Yet, the memories that carry over from that time are some of the fondest recollections of my childhood. In fact, any time spent with Grandma and Grandpa added color, brightness, and meaning during those formidable early years. I recall walks to the park, walks to the candy store, playful laughter and tickling sessions, bright sunny mornings, chirping birds, sugar cereal for breakfast—the list goes on.
“Grandparents hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever” - Unknown
At Little Unicorn, we often urge and encourage parents to live in the present and appreciate the fleeting moments they have with their young ones. I’m also reminded of this notion by Regina Brett,
"IF YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO STILL HAVE GRANDPARENTS, VISIT THEM, CHERISH THEM, AND CELEBRATE THEM WHILE YOU CAN."
A couple years ago, my wife and I moved our small brood of younglings back to our hometown. The intention was, in part, to provide them with the opportunity to spend more quality time with their grandparents.
Since moving back home, my children’s lives have been elevated by Sunday dinners, one-on-one bowling dates, surprise treats left at the door, banana smoothies, grandma’s cookies, basketball games with grandpa, and simple playtime on the floor. Time with grandma and grandpa is the time they value the most. Likewise, time with the grandkids seems to be just as valuable to the grandparents. At least, that’s how they make them feel. They seem to go out of their way to try and find opportunities to be together.
In an effort to be more present with all her grandkids near and far, my mom started to post videos of herself reading bedtime stories on Youtube. Everyone (including me!) looked forward to the daily videos which were meant to be a small family thing. However, they soon caught the attention of other children who were, for one reason or another, devoid of a grandparent’s influence in their lives.
I was struck by how many children were impacted by a simple story read by my mother.
Here are a few comments people left:
“I am Tori. I am 9. I am homeschooled. I do not have a grandma or grandpa. Thank you for reading to me!!”
“Love this! Thank you for sharing your loving Grandma story reading with the world. Many children out in the world do not have a Grandma.”
“You're a good reader! My lil bro and I were enamored! :D God bless!"
In these uncertain times with so much time spent isolated at home, the calming presence of a grandparent can mean so much. Take the time to reach out to them if you can. Let your children grow from their influence. Enjoy their presence whether physically or digitally. Those moments are fleeting.
“A grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.” - Unknown
And, if you don’t have a grandma or grandpa to turn to, I’d love to share some of the videos my mother made for my children. They’re rough and raw but may provide a bit of sunshine in this strange, uncertain world.
After all, as Charles and Ann Morse once said:
"A CHILD NEEDS A GRANDPARENT, ANYBODY'S GRANDPARENT, TO GROW A LITTLE MORE SECURELY INTO AN UNFAMILIAR WORLD."
Don’t we all in these strange times?
Sam and the Firefly
Horton Hatches an Egg
You can see more at her own youtube channel here!