Dear Grandparenting: I’m a big one for sharing family stories with grandchildren so they can understand how things came to be. Grandparents might think old family stories don’t matter to kids with faces glued to computer screens. I disagree.
Yesterday I was explaining stuff about our family to my grandson Luke. I was rambling on about this and that before he was born, and then without thinking I said, “And then we adopted your mother.”
Turns out Luke didn’t already know, but he let me off easy. “I don’t care about that adoption stuff.” Big pause. “I love Mom. She loves me too.”
I had to say something. The best I could do was, “I guess we were lucky she came along.” Luke gave me a high five. It was a really special moment.
The thing is, I was sort of holding on to that adoption as my failure, since I could not conceive. Luke helped me turn that negative into something positive.
Adoption can be a difficult issue to deal with. So are death, divorce, sickness, remarriage and other facts of life. That’s why family stories matter. Don’t wait for the perfect time and place to start. Just pass it on. June Wilkinson, Seattle, Washington
Dear June: Count on us to pass this along. Family history is the glue that binds generations. Grandparents can benefit from sharing stories, as you learned. Grandchildren benefit too.
According to Bruce Feiler, author of “The Secrets of Happy Families,” a child’s knowledge of family history may well be the best predictor of future emotional health and happiness. The more they know, the greater their self-esteem and sense of control.
Grand remark of the week
Eddie Young from Kingsport, Tennessee is not one to “sit around watching” his five grandchildren.
“They keep me busy,” said Eddie. “I read them books aloud and we act out the good parts. Last month we searched for elephants in my back yard. Didn’t find any, but we’ll try again.
“We decided to build a rocket ship but that’s on hold until the kids finish deciding what colors it will be. Until then, we stay busy watching movies while I keep the popcorn coming.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.