Updated: Sep 28, 2018
Grandparents are such a necessary part of a child's life. Whether they are near or far, whether they are family or surrogate, they are still grandparents and necessary to a child's life. In one of the schools where I worked, the senior center near us had a program where a family could adopt a grandparent or grandparents. As Eric's grandparents lived far away and seldom could make the trip to the Kansas City area, they adopted grandparents for Eric. Papa Don and his wife came to be so special to this little boy. They were older and slow to get around. Papa Don was very tall. Eric was very small. He had dental issues and all his teeth were silver capped. It did not hurt that wonderful smile at all. Eric was always smiling. Papa Don would come to pick Eric up every Wednesday. Eric could hardly contain himself at the prospect of going out to lunch with Papa John and his wife and spending the afternoon with them. They went to the park. They went to the children's theater. They went on walks. They held hands. One morning as Papa Don picked Eric up, Eric told him, "Papa Don my shoe is untied. I can't tie them yet. Help me?" As I was close, I offered to help and was turned down and the center stopped as we watched this tall stick figure kneel down to tie a shoe. It took him at least three minutes just to get all the way down but he did. He tied the shoe and slowly rose back up. A small figure smiled so wide and said, "Thank you, Papa Don. Sometimes, I need a lot of help." As he walked out the door, I heard Papa Don reply, "Well, son, sometimes I do to!"
In today's world, Grandparents are being called upon to raise a second family. As I currently live in a small village that is culturally diverse, I have learned that some societies have long known the value of grandparents and have always incorporated them as integral parts of the family. Personally, I'm a grandmother and being a part of another generation is absolutely wonderful.