“Are the Abuelos coming?”
This is a frequently asked question in our house. My kids are referring to their great-grandparents, my husband’s grandparents, and the answer is more often than not “Yes, the Abuelos are coming.”
I consider my children very lucky. Not only do they have their grandparents nearby but they also have a set of great grandparents that are a regular and active part of their lives. My kids have had a special bond with their great grandparents from almost the moment they were born. Now that they are older that attachment has become even more special. My son will spend hours telling his great-grandfather all about his Yu-gi-oh cards who will sit and listen intently, asking just the right questions at just the right moments. My daughter will happily sip tea with her great-grandmother at an afternoon tea party.
I grew up far away from most of my family. A province away from one set of grandparents and an ocean away from the other.
I spent many a March Break, Easter weekends and summer vacations with my grandparents and extended family but they weren’t really involved in my day to day life. We lived too far away from each other for that.
If you were to ask me when it started to bother me that I didn’t have immediate family close by I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
That’s because my parents created a beautiful family for us. I grew up surrounded by not only the love of my parents and brother but with the love of an extended family created as an addition to that far away family. I never lacked love. We always had a full table at Christmas and people to turn to when life knocked us down.
Yet I was a little envious of those I knew who were surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The memories I have of my great grandparents are scattered but warm and full of love; beginning at strawberry socials but ending in hospitals visiting someone who didn’t remember who I was.
My kids, on the other hand, are blessed with great-grandparents that are a regular presence in their lives. We made it a priority to help foster that relationship and they live close enough to make that possible. Regular lunch dates during maternity leave, quick Saturday afternoon visits while we were running errands and Sunday dinners have helped both my children get to know their great-grandparents and vice versa.
How special it is that my kids have great-grandparents cheering them on during soccer games and at dance recitals. They have watched them learn how to swim and do somersaults. They have donated to their Jump Rope for Heart campaigns and bought a box of apples that were probably never finished from their school fundraiser.
They never show up for a visit empty handed, a little baggy of toffees is always pulled out of a secret pocket that only great grandfathers must have the moment they walk through the door.
It is beautiful to watch them.
When you sit back and really watch them interacting with each other. One just starting out, clueless as to what the world has in store for them, so full of dreams and bursting with the excitement of learning something new each day unknowingly passing on the lessons of youth. The other weary from having travelled the beaten path, settled and at peace with most of the choices they have made both good and bad, imparting the beautiful wisdom that they have collected along their journey.
They learn from each other and it’s such a beautiful sight to see.
The love that passes between them is visible to all those who are fortunate enough to be a part of it and these memories will forever be imprinted on my children’s hearts and souls.
What a wonderful gift it is to be a part of such a village. It is a blessing to be able to tighten the ties between generations.
The next time my kids ask “Are the Abuelos coming?” we both know the answer to that question and we will both anxiously await our toffees together.
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