The Grandchild Effect

Before I had grandchildren, I used to hear people talking about how joyful it was to have a grandchild, and the wonderful effect it had on them.  They often brag about the things the child does or says and also about the things they as a grandparent would do for the child.  Not to mention the warnings they almost always get about possibly “spoiling” the child.

May I say that I’m living it.  I am blessed with three granddaughters and they are the light that shines brightly in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my own children (my youngest has not yet given me a grand), but my grandchildren does something completely different for me.  Their little faces.  Their expressions.  The words they use.  Their singing and dancing they do without even being asked.  Their wisdom.  I have learned so much from them.  The grandchild effect is wonderful!

Surprisingly, though, some of us don’t relish the effect that a grandchild can have on us.  I know folks who would dare not have a grandchild call them “grandma” or “grandma” in public.  The feeling is that it makes them really feel old.  “Are you really serious right now?” I asked one person.  “Oh yes!” she replied.  “I’m not ready to be anybody’s grandma; I’m still to young to be called that!”  How sad, I thought.  How very sad.

Folks who behave this way are surely missing out on — that wonderful grandchild effect.

Holiday Tribute From the Grand Girls

My grand daughters wrote the loveliest poem as a holiday tribute to their grandparents, which includes myself, their paternal grandmother and both grandfathers.  It was heart-warming and was mostly written by the oldest, Marley – age 7, with inputs from Sage – age 5.  It brought tears to my eyes when it was being presented to me.  I had no idea they noticed the little things they mentioned in the poem.  Who says that little children don’t really pay attention?  Well, whoever said that, lied.

The girls are truly blessed and they know it.  They have both sets of grandparents who are alive and well, and who are also very much involved in their lives.  Most people my age, and that includes me, never had a relationship with a grandparent.  My maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather passed away in the 1940s – way before I was even thought of.  My paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather both lived until I was about 6 years old so I had a chance to meet and play with them a bit.  I miss not having a lengthy and fun-loving relationship with them, the way my three grand daughters do with me and their other grandparents now.

I am thankful for them and they are extremely thankful us as well.

It happened…a wake-up call

It happened. I lost a long-time acquaintance to obesity and unfitness. Paula (not her real name) grew up as a thin, 5-feet 4-inch girl with a tiny waistline. As she grew into her late 30s, Paula noticed that she was gaining weight rapidly. It was during these times that I actually met her and she always had photos in her wallet of how thin she used to be. The then and now photos were two totally different-looking people.

I often chided her that she needed to be careful and to try to get a hold of this weight gain before it got out of hand. “When you see that you have to be buying bigger-sized clothes each time, let that be the wakeup call”, I once told her. “Girl, please!” she replied. “I’ll just buy a bigger size blouse if I need to!” I took that as my cue to leave her alone where that issue was concerned, so I did exactly that.

I lost contact with her for over 12 years but saw pictures of her on Facebook and in a couple newspaper articles, as she was pretty active in her high school old girls’ association. She had gotten even bigger! Her arms were triple the size of what I last saw, and she looked even shorter than the 5′ 4″ due to the weight gain. I sighed to myself, saying that it looked as if Paula was trying to have a short life-span.

Sure enough, I received the bad news this week that Paula passed away as a result of a stroke and a massive heart attack. She had just turned 50 years old late last year. I was surprised and disappointed but somehow, not completely shocked. I saw it coming. Paula was never an active person so living a mostly sedentary life-style, being overweight and not really caring about her overall health, led to her ultimate demise. How very sad.

Folks, we must take proper care of ourselves, particularly as we get older. I certainly don’t profess to be this big fitness guru, but I do try to be cognizant of what I eat, the progress of my weight (I’m on the scale every other day, just to make sure that my weight stays within a certain range), doing some sort of activity, and just overall being careful with my body as I age. Let us all do this and if you have a family member or friend whom you notice could use your help in this regard, don’t be afraid to offer it. You might just be what they need to get started on the road to living healthy for the remainder of their lives.