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The Grandparent Connection

Encouraging this special bond between generations

August 2013

I was lucky enough to recently travel with my three daughters and my mom. Three generations taking a summer trip together – sounds like the making of a good TV movie!

My mom lives half the year near us and half the year in a warmer climate during the winter months. Although we visit with her when she is home, traveling together is different. No texting, no phones, no chores, no outside influences – nothing but what we had decided to do at that very moment together. It was hard for me to settle into this space the first couple of days. Since I am used to managing routine and process for my family, it felt strange to let go. But when I did, I realized just how much we gained from each other's company.

I watched my kids enjoy their grandmother and watched her enjoy them. I listened to my mom teach my kids small life lessons, reminisced about old times and recalled funny moments growing up. My kids giggled thinking of me being their age and doing silly kid stuff. Yes, I did ride my bike without sunscreen until it got dark through the woods by myself without a helmet. Shocking for my kids to hear this about their mom – and from their grandma, no less. In my defense, I am a child of the 70's when we didn't have the same kind of safety precautions. The way my mom used to protect us in the car during an abrupt stop was to hold out her arm to keep us from going through the windshield. Taking time to remember, I had forgotten so many things and it was fun to recall those times again with my children and my mom.

When I was growing up, it seems there were fewer distractions competing for my attention. When I was baking with my grandmother that is all I did – bake, talk and share stories. She had an apple tree outside her garden. I would climb the tree to pick the apples and help her make an apple pie. It was simple. It was happy. It felt easy. I felt that way again while traveling with my girls and my mom. Simple. Easy. Happy.

Having grandparents that want to invest time with our children is a huge gift. Time is the one thing you cannot buy or replace. It has nothing to do with status, job title or stuff. It is an investment with a lasting influence. As a mom, I like to think that I am covering all the ground myself when trying to raise good kids to be good adults. The truth is, I can't do it alone. The influence and wisdom of grandparents is priceless – and an invaluable connection in our children's lives. By truly "unplugging" and making time for this important relationship, all generations reap the benefits.

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Mary Susan Buhner is a Life Coach for Moms and author of "Mommy Magic: Tricks for Staying Sane in the Midst of Insanity." Visit her Web site at www.Mommy-Magic.com.

Tags: In This Issue, Mommy Magic, Parenting

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