I have fond memories of my grandparents when I was a kid. Only two grandmothers, one grandfather, and one great grandmother were alive by the time I was born, and I spent time with all of them. My maternal grandfather passed away when I was four or five years old. My great grandmother and my grandmother on my father’s side passed away when I was a teenager. The grandmother on my mother’s side is still alive and doing well.
When I was a kid I used to ride my bike to my grandmother’s house. She lived next to my cousins who I considered some of my best friends. So going to my grandmother’s house was always a treat and never a punishment. She also had this schedule where the grandkids would rotate each weekend and one grandkid would get to spend the night at her house. We’d watch our favorite movies on her laser disc machine and in the morning she would make us the most fantastic French toast.
My grandmother was also available for all those events and activities that require a grandparent’s participation. My grandmother watched me play sports, she attended school assemblies, and she ate lunch with me at school. Addie has had a number of similar events at her school where it has been bring your grandparent to lunch day or bring your grandparent for cookies day. Knowing that her grandparents all live more than a thousand miles away has to bring a little regret to Addie when those days show up. I know it brings up some regret in me when I hear about those days and that Addie won’t have a grandparent there.
I want my kids to experience growing up with lots of cousins and grandparents just like I experienced, but unless some surprising things happen in the future, living close to their grandparents will never happen. Addie and Vivi will grow up here in Indiana with all their cousins and grandparents back in Utah. All we can do is try to give Addie and Vivi some kind of understanding of what it’s like to have grandparents and cousins living close by.
Whenever Addie has had one of those grandparent related events at school, we’ve always adopted a grandparent for her. One of the secretaries at my office always looks forward to going to Addie’s school to play the part of Addie’s grandparent, and Addie enjoys it when she comes to her school.
There’s also a couple who lives in our neighborhood. They have grandkids of their own, but they’ve kind of adopted Addie as a granddaughter as well. They’ll take her home from church sometimes on Sunday, and they’ll invite her over some afternoons to hang out with them and Addie loves it. They even did a little spoiling by sending her home this weekend with her own can of Pringles.
Although it will never be the same as what I experienced as a kid, It’s the best we have and hopefully it will teach Addie and Vivi that there are people in life who may not be blood related, but they can still be family.
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