News of the pending arrival of my first two grandchildren — yes, both my sons called the same weekend with their news — came with mixed emotions. Ecstasy was followed quickly with dismay: we had applied to join the Peace Corps and were in the midst of fairly major changes in preparation.
Ecstasy won out, of course. We put our Peace Corps application on hold for a year and settled into a life unexpected. Eight and a half months later they were born, two days apart.
That was 18 years ago.
When I began to write this, I was visiting Ohio for two high school graduation ceremonies and parties.
That same month (May, 2022), my social media friend and colleague, Shirley Showalter, came out with a new book. Co-authored with Marilyn McEntyre, The Mindful Grandparent describes “The Art of Loving our Children’s Children.”
I’ll steal a snippet from the book’s marketing materials:
Making memories and fostering relationships with our grandchildren in the midst of a fast-moving culture isn’t easy, and a legacy that lasts isn’t crafted overnight. So how do we as grandparents cultivate strong, meaningful relationships with the children we adore?
I admire Shirley, more than I can say, but I’m afraid to read this book of hers.
In between leaving for Peace Corps (2004) and today (2023), each family had one more child, giving me five grandchildren, now ages 16 to 23.
I’m afraid if I read this book I’ll discover how much I’ve missed by living so far from them since we returned from our Peace Corps stint. You all know we weren’t expecting to be up here sans grandchildren. I told that story in Finding Our Way To Vermont.
Still, we are here; that’s the reality. We are twelve hours from one set of grandkids; and four additional hours to get to the other. Pre-CoVid, I’d make it out to Ohio twice a year, autumn and spring. They’ve visited in the summers, of course; and each family has had at least one winter vacation with us. But it’s getting harder for them to make the trek: the kids got older and their interests spread out beyond family.
I’m really curious about Shirley’s new book. It’s gotten great reviews, which does not surprise me at all. And I want to support her.
So, I turn to you, my readers.
Have you read Shirley’s book yet? I imagine many of you have. Can you advise me? If you’ve not yet read it, here’s that link again. Help me overcome my fear, set me straight, challenge me to step up and be brave.
Is there still time? Or have I missed too much already?
How have you built relationships with your grandchildren?