The Biggest Gift We Can Give

Day 214

When I think back to my childhood, I can remember a few very special toys, but most of my memories are times spent with people who loved me.

Spending a few days with my grandchildren as their primary caregiver reminds me how important the simple gift of our time is to children. It is not enough to have shared time with us, they each crave individual time where each of them can feel like the most important thing in our life. And that, my friend requires some planning. It is not the easiest thing to accomplish with multiple children, but it is so important.

Even looking back on the time with my own children, my special memories are also around moments. Moments as a family unit but also moments where it was just the two of us. Moments where we talked about important things and moments we laughed in silliness.

I look at the debris path sometimes left behind from poorly constructed toys. They have such a short time span in which they occupy a child’s time and energy. Yesterday, for instance, I taught my granddaughter how to cut paper dolls that hold hands and she showed me how to cut snowflakes out of paper. When my grandson wants to play something, he always goes back to make-up games we have played for years that require nothing but imagination.

Of course they have their favorite toys, but what they really want from us is quality time with no phones or interruptions. Of course that requires time and energy, but it is so rewarding. This is the time that creates forever memories.


12 thoughts on “The Biggest Gift We Can Give”

  1. That is so incredibly beautiful and brings back such warm thoughts of my own grandma, even though it was about 60+ years ago (I was born in 1941). Back then, we children could actually play out in our neighborhood street and our yards without fears and most of the games involved nothing but the children ourselves, except for the occasional cardboxs which became everything from race cars to space ships. And my grandma used to read to us and she taught us things I would not have learned otherwise. I think of all the people I knew in family, she and my one aunt were my favorites. I would never have made it through my childhood without them. My grandma taught me all the skills I would need as an adult – cooking, sewing, and every other household skill. But most of all, it was the stories she picked. She had a wonderful sense of the kind of stories I needed to hear. They were not easy stories – Hans Christian Anderson types such as The Little Match Girl, and The Red Shoes, but they were lessons of life I needed in a home that might have had quiet chaos in the background.

    Children will remember their parents, but their grandparents are the keystone to their most important lessons they learn in life. You have a beautiful way with words, and make the times you spent with your grandchildren most memorable. I bet they too will remember the stories you told them all their lives.

    You know, one thing my grandma never did that I wish I had known more about, and that is that she never told me a lot about her life. I do know she came to the U.S. when she was just 16 from Wales, and she lived with one of her aunts. I do also know that she worked in one of the mills where fabric was made around Rhode Island, and I also know that later in life she served as a midwife, and that her husband was there for the building of the Panama Canal, but I know nothing about her childhood or what it was like coming to America for the first time.

    I hope that you can write your own history of life for your grandchildren because they need to know those things, and many times their parents will not remember or tell them the things they need to know most. You are a fantastic and very comfortable writer, and to me, that is the kind of writer I remember the most. Thank you very kindly for sharing this beautiful memory. It is a true treasure.

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    1. Anne, I think we all wish we had known enough or been old enough to ask questions of our grandparents. I guess that is why genealogy interests me so much. The important thing to me is that they know how much I love them.


  2. My memories of my paternal grandmother are so fond and wonderful. We never played. We read together and she shared stories of my religion. She loved me to the moon and back and that I knew. That is the gift I will cherish forever.
    I am so glad that you are getting some special time with the grands,

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    1. Oh, Lauren, reading together is such a joy. My mother read us classic poetry. My grandmother played ukulele and sang old songs. I make up bedtime stories for the grands and they love them. They remember them long after I have forgotten. 😳 This is time I cherish.

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  3. Nothing like the wonderful memories I have from my grandparents. Special food, playing at the playground near their apartment, walking around the beautiful lake and park across the street, feeding the ducks…….on and on! They were my paternal grandparents and we saw them very often. My maternal grandparents lived further away and had no car but relied on public transportation. We saw them less often, but when my grandmother came she carried many bags ( so hard to take buses with all those bags) filled with special ingredients to prepare our favorite foods and dresses she bought us to pick from! Nothing like the love and sacrifice of great grandparents. So many families today live far away from each other. We are examples of that. So sad on so many levels. We have, unfortunately, had many tough family issues over the past 14 months and have been unable to see our four grand girls. Soon, that will change! Can’t wait!!

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    1. Oh, Nancy, I love to hear these stories! What joy. My sister always took her grandchildren to feed the ducks. It is something they will always remember. I look forward to the time when your life is a little calmer. 💕


  4. I had absolutely magical relationships with all my grandparents (although my mother’s father passed before my memory began, I’ve been told it was magical). I truly would not be who I am today without their love and attention and guidance. You are such a blessing to them. I know, because I carry my grandparent memories fondly. Most of my very best childhood memories are with a grandparent.

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