Thanks to increased longevity, many of us may actually have 40 or more years to participate in the lives of our grandchildren!
And that’s not the good news. Living near each other (or having the means to undertake regular visits) is no longer essential to maintaining close family ties, thanks to burgeoning communications technologies and easy-access social networks that are being embraced by older adults in record numbers.
All this translates into a wealth of opportunities for us to have a profound and enduring impact on our grandchildren’s’ lives. What’s more, the benefits of The Grandest Love are a two-way street. Seizing ways to become an actively engaged grandparent helps us maintain vitality and energy, and a powerful sense of purpose and joy, as we age.
See the “Benefits of Grandparenting” Fact Sheet from the Ohio State University Extension
For me, becoming “Grandpa” was the dawn of a new day. Decades ago, during my parenting years, I—like many people—was engaged in demanding work that required long hours away from home and family. As a result, unfortunately, I missed many highlights of my own children’s growing-up years. One of the greatest joys of retirement has been the gift of time to participate in my grandchildren’s lives—to play board games with them, cheer them on the sports field, teach them how to ride their bikes, pick them up from school, and take them to shows and athletic events. It’s been a win-win all around.
Grandchildren Bring Love and Second Chances
I’ve discovered that The Grandest Love can foster an improved family synergy across the board, enriching my relationship with the parents of those amazing grandkids: my daughter, Ellen, and my son, Michael, and their respective spouses. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve managed to heal some old wounds and lighten some old baggage. And we are mindful of trying to maintain open, respectful communication and mutual cooperation.
The reality is: when you and your adult offspring are stuck in an unforgiving past, unable to broker a grown-up détente, there can be little basking together in the sunshine of the grandchildren. And all three generations, through every season of their lives, will be poorer for it.
The birth of a child heralds a precious time, one that has the power to transform all the adults touched by the experience into more loving people.
My hope is that this book will encourage you to be open to such transformations—and even actively try to facilitate them.