My 6-year-old granddaughter and I were at the grocery store, just the two of us.
She lives on the other side of the United States with her family. Skype is a sorry substitute for spending time (in the flesh, not virtually) with her, her sisters, and her cousins. So I have to make the most of every opportunity when we’re actually together, in person.
That means actively creating one-on-one opportunities – and perfecting the art of scheduling in kid lunches, kid movies (I have seen How To Train Your Dragon, Big Hero Six, Inside Out and Cinderella, among others) and trips to bounce houses. (I’ve also coached the younger set on how to shop in a bookstore. We practiced asking a clerk, “Who is the expert in kids’ books here? What is new and cool for an X year old?” before going to the store. It worked out really well, by the way.)
Meanwhile, back at Publix, I offered to let her push the cart. She immediately went into a ballet pose (arms in an arch above her head) and said, “Oh Poppa, that is a lifelong dream of mine.” She has three extremely competent older sisters who normally take the helm.
So I let her push the cart with only occasional course corrections to avoid the man on crutches, the 8′ cereal box tower, and the stock boy innocently shelving coffee. All the while I was pondering how satisfying simple acts of love and kindness can be.
A few minutes later, she patted me on the arm and said, “I know you are going to die someday but not for a long, long, long time, like two years. Don’t worry. I will always remember you.” Where that came from I do not know and don’t care. My smiling response: “Thank you. I am greatly relieved.”
If you get a chance for one-on-one time with your grandchildren, grab it whenever you can, wherever you are. These small moments have big impact, and not just for you.