Grandparents are a treasure- spend time with them while you can
Grandparents are special treasures on this earth. Nobody, nobody, can cook, have fun, tell stories or show true love like Grandma and Grandpa. Those of us who grew up going on weekend trips to their houses know just how lasting and beautiful those memories are.
All of us are growing older, and we should be awakening to the sobering reality that time is short. Grandparents won’t be around forever. This sad truth has become all too real for many of my friends and I lately. One of my good buddies just lost his great grandmother; several friends and I have a grandmother in poor health.
On Monday night, a friend and I were talking about her grandmother’s recent cancer diagnosis. This made me realize that we’d better spend more time with our grandparents while we still have them. And that’s the message of this week’s column, plain and simple: Grandkids, go see Nana and Papa. And for you grandmas and grandpas, make an effort to spend time with your little ones.
Pursuing a good relationship between grandchildren and grandparents, however, is much easier said than done. Some people have tremendously strained relationships with their grandparents, for varied reasons. Some live thousands of miles apart or have jam-packed schedules. S
ome have grandparents in the late stages of diseases like Alzheimer’s that leave their loved ones as mere shadows of their former selves, unable to remember their grandchildren’s names. In each of these situations, quality time between grandchildren and grandparents may be hard to come by – even close to impossible.
Nevertheless, hope springs eternal, and I believe that – no matter the circumstance – we can all find healing, hope and love with our family members if we will seek it.
I am no expert on relationships, but I believe in a man named Jesus who can cure the incurable and love the unlovable. I’ve heard stories of horribly damaged relationships between family members being made new; children, parents and grandparents have been able to reconcile their differences and find new love, even on their deathbeds. The only thing that can absolutely prevent you from moving closer to restoration with a living person is the belief that it’s impossible. If you have a longing to restore a lost or broken connection with your grandparents or grandchildren – or anyone you love, for that matter – you, too, have hope.
As for those who live physically far away from loved ones, remember that we live in an era with limitless technological conveniences. We can call or chat just about anyone via computer or phone. Virtually all of us have the means to communicate with someone, even those on another part of the globe. The biggest challenge, however, is to make the time to have meaningful conversations. We will never find the time to talk to people we love; we have to make it by setting aside blocks of time and clearing out our schedules, even if that means giving up a little work or other obligation.
And, of course, some grandparents are in such conditions that communication may be nearly impossible. My own grandmother has lost a lot of speaking ability after suffering a series of strokes. Thank the Lord she is on the mend, but a recent visit to her hospital room was rather quiet. She couldn’t say much. At times, I wondered why I was even there. But at some point, the revelation came to me that we don’t always need to talk to express our love and share a special moment. In the hardest, quietest moments, the mere presence of someone may be the best medicine in the world. Don’t let your relatives’ poor health keep you away from them. When a grandchild holds a grandparent’s hand, a million words have already been spoken.
My cousin Ray recently asked me, “What’s going to matter to you in a hundred years?” I’d never given it any thought. But I have given thought to what will matter to me in 50 years, when I’m hopefully still on this earth and able to reflect on my life. In that time, I’ll want to think back on the times I spent with the ones I love, especially my grandparents, and I’ll want to have as many wonderful memories as I can. One day, our good memories will be some of our most prized possessions.
Whether you’re a grandkid or a grandparent, today is the day to spend time together. Relationship is a two-way street. Grandkids, make that phone call, and yes, listen to the same stories over and over again. And grandparents, quit saying the grandkids never call or come around. You have work to do, too.
I wish everyone could know the value of having grandparents. Sadly, some never have and never will. So, if you’ve got grandparents or grandchildren, be grateful! You’ve got a treasure awaiting you. Won’t you start searching for it? You never know just how much love you could find. These people are called “grand” for a reason.
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