Running for inspiration: Thinking about grandparents

If you’re anything like me, you have ideas firing through your mind constantly. So many, and so fleeting, it sometimes feels impossible to just slow down and grasp one idea and run with it. Something I have found to be quite helpful through the years has been to run. While physically running, my thoughts slow down. It’s almost meditative. Well, today, I was grateful, after a long week at work, to have had the time to go for a (short) run. My wonderful husband made this possible by looking after our little lovelight.

While I was running, I was thinking about things that generally make me happy. I was thinking about my grandparents, and how I have two surviving grandmothers who are great grandmothers to our baby. Aidan also has one surviving grandmother, so our baby has three great grandmothers! How lucky? I never knew any of my great grandparents, but I knew I had one surviving great grandfather in India whom I had only seen photographs of, and heard stories about. Black and white photographs that had had their fair share of wear and tear. Nowadays, we take tonnes of photos – sometimes the same one to get it just right, and yet, it never seems to feel like enough. I wish to capture every moment on camera, and end up sometimes losing the purpose – just being present in the moment.

One area where I feel like I am good at being present is when my baby and parents are together. I absolutely love watching them with her. Watching my parents gracefully and lovingly step into their roles as grandparents has been a joy like no other. The grandparent bond is something I cherished so much growing up, as I was privileged to have all 4 until I was in my final year of medical school. I also find I get glimpses into how they were as first time parents with me (as I am their first child and eldest of three). Watching their smiles grow as wide as they do, and their voices become as high pitched and sing-songy as they do is food for my soul. I do not have many physical photos of these moments, which I wish I did so I could share them with her when she is older. But, my mind is full of snapshots of these moments in time. I cherish them so much.

I have always believed grandparents are such an important influence to have around children growing up. They bring with them wisdom from having lived a long life full of experience. They bring perspective, and often gave me the feeling that, “everything will work out”. They bring immense love. A deep and unwavering love. I remember asking my grandfather, who was a retired school Principal, “GrampChamp, what’s it like to be a grandfather?”. He responded, “My child, your grandmother and I are the roots of the tree, your parents are the branches and you are the flowers – we get to sit back and watch you flourish”. I just simply loved that and have remembered it to this day. I even drew this for him in family tree form when he was sick in the hospital at 92 years of age with a stroke. Grandparents can impact our lives so deeply. Provided they are loving and supportive, they can be a protective factor in a growing child’s life, where other experiences in their worlds have the potential to cause harm.

I remember my paternal grandfather trying to teach me how to ride a bike, teaching me yoga, teaching me how to treat other people with respect and love. He taught me to value health over wealth. To love thy neighbour. To give back. To belong where you live. He would always say, “the day you stop learning is the day you die”. That rang true for him. He was on Facebook at the age of 94 and was still travelling the world with my grandfather. He taught me to value the relationships in my life more than anything else. We lost him when he was 94 years of age.

I remember my maternal grandfather teaching me to be of service to those around me. He would volunteer at the seniors club, buying groceries and doing other things for those who could not get out – snow or shine, nothing could stop him. Even when he was looking after us, I remember asking him for popsicles on a cold and snowy day – and he went out and got them for me! Sadly we lost him 9 years ago.

Although we have lost both our grandfathers – their teachings and their genetics will forever live on.

Watching the joy in my grandmothers’ faces when they interact with our baby girl is priceless. My grandmother who recently lost her husband has told me time and again, that her great grand-daughter has given her a reason to look forward to another day again.

I am aware I am one of the lucky ones, because my grandparents have been so wonderful to us growing up. Do you share in these sentiments? I would love to read your stories! Write to me in the comments section!

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