Perhaps big Thanksgiving dinners or Easter egg hunts at their house come to mind. Large family gatherings make for special childhood memories, but what about those one-on-one moments you spent with your grandparents without the cousins there to run off and play with?
Remember those summers you’d spend the week at your grandparents'? Or when your maternal grandmother taught you how to play gin rummy? Or when you and your paternal grandmother would pretend to be grown up ladies and, as she served you tea, she would tell you stories about her namesake granddaughter (you)?
In the guest bed was a Little Red Riding Hood topsy turvy doll. A lot of the details are fuzzy, but I also remember proudly rereading the same story from my Girl Scouts Handbook to them on one of my overnights. Listening to the same story over and over again takes patience, and a lot of love. Grandparents do a lot of things for their grandchildren out of love, don't they?
You watch them when their parents are at the hospital delivering their newest siblings. You take them to the playground, play Legos and dolls with them, and help them put together puzzles. They tell you what they want to play, and you are happy to take orders from them, most of the time.
Pictures are taken at the large family gatherings, but we don't take pictures of those ordinary childhood memory-in-the-making-moments with our grandparents. You’ve probably photographed your grandchildren thousands of times, as they’re growing up and changing in millions of ways. Those photographs often include the parents, but how many pictures will your grandchildren have of the precious time they are spending with you?
You could show your children and grandchildren today how your grandfather's eyes disappeared when he laughed, how your grandmother was the warmest, gentlest woman you ever knew; and you would still see the love in grandparents' eyes reflected back at you. The details of your grandparents’ homes would be preserved in photographs now that those homes are gone from your family forever.
Now I know you don’t like photos of yourself and you don't like getting in front of the camera (In another blog post, I’ll address how we all feel that way and how’s it poppycock. I have a lot to say about that.).