When my granddaughters were little, my daughter once said to me: “Mom, you don’t have to bring the girls toys. Their favorite thing to play with is YOU!”
Her sweet compliment has stayed with me over the years and helped me become more aware of the “gifts” I bring as a grandma every time I visit—the intangible gifts of my undivided attention, imagination, and patience. These attributes are so much easier to offer as a grandmother than they were when I was a mother.
They’re easier, because I know my time with my granddaughters is limited and I’ll get a reprieve when Mama comes home. But my time with them is also easier because I’ve matured thirty years and have had time to hone my talents. I know that I love storytelling, singing, and making up creative games. So when I’m with my granddaughters, that’s what we do.
When my first granddaughter was 3 years old, she learned to dial my phone number and asked me to tell her a story. I got so good at making up stories that I felt a little sad when she stopped asking for them. But now her younger sister is requesting them and I’m keeping her entertained with some brand new stories.
If storytelling isn’t one of your gifts, I can recommend an incredible storyteller I heard at last year’s Home School Conference. His name is Jim Weiss and his version of the “Hare and the Tortoise” was absolutely mesmerizing. I bought several of his Great Hall CDs for my granddaughters and their favorite is “Uncle Wiggly’s Storybook.”
I’ve enjoyed singing since I was a Girl Scout and learned campfire songs and rounds at summer camp. One of my favorite music resources is Wee Sing CDs and songbooks. The Wee Sing “Sing-Alongs” book has 60 familiar tunes that will definitely bring back memories. It includes simple scores that my granddaughters and I enjoy playing on the piano.
Recently, I came up with a word game both my granddaughters enjoyed. It’s a simplified version of Fictionary, also known as the Dictionary Game. I said a word and they had to guess whether it was a real word or made up word. Once they got the hang of it, I introduced another element: I gave them a real word and then gave them two definitions—one real and one made up. They had to guess the real definition. They had so much fun playing that game we continued it at dinner with my 89-year old mom who’s a crossword fan. This is a great game for all the generations!
What “gifts” do you bring to your grandchildren? Start noticing how you spend your time with your grandchildren and maybe you’ll discover some long-hidden talents you may have forgotten you had. That’s also one of the “gifts” our grandchildren give to us—the chance to reconnect to a long-forgotten passion.