Grandparents as teachers
The cut on my arm was a small one, but my three-year-old grandson noticed the blood immediately and ran over to blow on my arm to stop the flow.
“You have a booboo. You need a bambaid!” he proclaimed. “I get it.”
Not your ordinary “bambaid,” mind you. Only a teenage mutant ninja turtle bandage could fix what was wrong. At that moment, he fixed more than a tiny cut.
This morning, as I was getting dressed for work, the bandage was still there. I could have removed it from the noticeable spot on my arm, but I didn’t. I wore it to work in all its green glory. Truthfully, it is more beautiful to me than any piece of jewelry I could be wearing, except perhaps for the adjustable dollar store mood ring I often wear – a gift from an adorable granddaughter. On a tough day I just look down at the changing colors and smile. It always improves my mood.
It is not simply the experience of being a grandparent that gives you the freedom to make decisions that others might scoff at, or question, or to value things now that would have had little value in the past.
It is the unconditional love within the relationship that changes everything; the difference in the case of a grandparent is that our love has matured like fine wine. We have gained the perspective and wisdom of age to know what is truly important and valuable; we develop a freedom to not worry about what others may think, which allows us to wear cartoon bandages to work, make taffy from marshmallows by pulling it back and forth between our fingers, make silly faces in a restaurant if it inspires a child’s laughter, allow “Hop on Pop” to become a daily activity, not just a book, or be a 24 hour presence for a sick child, no matter how tired or sick we are.
We thank you, Lord, for our grandparents who have played such an important role in our lives.
We remember with joy all of the time spent together doing simple things like fishing, doing a puzzle, baking cookies, taking a walk, reading a story and learning about the wonder of nature.
Thank you for the privilege of hearing their stories of life in another time and place that inspired us to work hard, be patient, courageously endure hard times, and dare to follow our dreams.
We are forever grateful for the wisdom and stability they provided when we felt our world was falling apart.
What a great gift to us that they loved us just because we were their grandchild. Thank you that they counted it joy to spend time listening as we told them about the big and little things going on in our lives. May we continuously feel their hugs and feel the warmth of their smiles so that we can better comprehend your constant and unchanging love for us.
We ask your kind forgiveness for the times we failed to appreciate our grandparents, for the times we were too wrapped up in ourselves and our own activities to spend more time with them.
Help us to become more like them as we age, learning how to accept with grace the limitations of aging bodies. Give us their strong and supernatural grace to face the loss of our own aging friends and family the same way our grandparents have. May we learn from them how to face the prospects of our own limited time on Earth and our own deaths with the dignity, peace, and assurance of eternal life.
And when our time comes to be grandparents ourselves, help us to follow in their loving footsteps.
Resources: Jesuitresource.org on xavier.edu
—Originally published in the Fall 2023 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.