One of the most wonderful things about being a mother has been seeing my parents and my in-laws as grandparents. I have wonderful memories of my growing-up years with my grandparents–traveling for weeks each summer with my mom’s parents seeing the country in their Silver Streak trailer, and spending a week each summer–alone without my sister or cousin–at my dad’s parents’ home. They didn’t need anything fancy to keep me occupied, but kids are different today, and parenting is different today, too.
We like to make the most of our moments–hoping that we can educate, or inspire, or train in some way.
The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting offers “101 practical ideas and meaningful activities to share your love.” The book begins with an inspiring introduction, exhorting grandparents not to “hold your wisdom close to your chest,” because you are a bridge to your grandchildren’s roots. My husband’s grandmother, Grandmommy, not only shares amazing stories about her history and that of her family, but she tells it like it is–which of my husband’s siblings cried a lot as babies, her memories of my husband Terry’s childhood, and so much more. My grandmother Mimi has always told me stories about when I was a little girl. I learn about myself through a grandmother’s loving eyes when she counts and recounts these tales.
This book is full of activities to do–some are crafts, some are simply activities (like a whole page of fun things to do with a flashlight), or teachable moments such as viewing constellations. Along with information and instructions for completing the activity, there are suggestions about topics to discuss while doing it.
For example in the “Extended Stay” section of the book, grandparents are encouraged to discuss chores. Having the grandchildren for an extended stay allows you an opportunity to have them do some chores, and for you to give them some spending or saving money. Some of the chores are even just fun activities, such as making stationary on the computer, or having them tutor you in computer skills. The topics of conversation around this particular subject include discussing saving and spending and sharing about some of the jobs you had as a youth.
Each segment also includes a note of interest–from grandparent to grandparent–called “A Grandparenting Aside.” These little nuggets include admonitions about passing along your fears or phobias to them with seemingly innocent comments, and freedom from guilt if you want to find a way to preserve some kid-free time in your golden years.
I know that in addition to moms who love and appreciate their parents as grandparents, that we have quite a few grandparents who visit our site, so if you’d like to win a copy of this book for yourself or to pass on to your children’s grandparents, leave a comment below. You may even want to keep it for yourself–I won’t tell if you don’t–but then you might want to buy a second or third copy for a belated Mother’s Day gift or a Father’s Day gift next month.
Looking over this book and writing this post got me thinking about my grandparents. I mined through some of my blog archives for posts about some of the topics I mentioned above:
- Mimi talks about her childhood during the Depression in the Dust Bowl of North Texas.
- A grandpa cashier at the toystore reminded me how precious children are and how much grandparents love to see them grow.
- After my grandfather Mac died, I shared some of my childhood memories of traveling with him and Mimi.
- I preserved some of Grandmommy’s stories that she shared with us while visiting, including tales of covered wagons.
Leave a comment if you’d like to win a copy of the book (shipping to the U.S. only). I’ll announce the winner in next week’s column.