There have been times in my life when I believed that a grand gesture was in order. My seventieth birthday was one of them.
How should I celebrate? What would mean a lot to me and be a great experience at the same time?
First, a little back story:
Until you are a grandparent, there is no way to describe the exhilaration of that moment when you hold the tiny hand of your grandchild. Suddenly you are aware of the sanctity of souls. This baby is perfect. There is nothing that need be done in order to mold it or shape it. No matter what, this child is exactly right.
I have been a part of the births of seven grandchildren and had the pleasure of growing to know and include two additional children in my armload of love.
As they have all grown and matured, I have recognized that in their younger years they were happy just to have me near them. Then they grew into more social beings whose friends who were more important than grandparents at any given moment. They continue to love and honor – and are distracted by their own lives. This is as it should be.
Yet I crave time with them. Each minute with them (especially without their parents) is a gift nonpareil. Luckily for me, I continue to have satisfying relationships with each of them, but the ante is higher now.
Without putting a price tag on affection, I am aware that if I want to spend much time with them, I must go to where they are or create a situation interesting enough to draw them to me.
I have had another great intention for my grandchildren: that they would continue to have a relationship with each other long enough to realize what a great resource they have in each other. This, again, is a tall order. Although they love each other and enjoy each other’s company, their own interests and obligations begin to take precedence.
With these two goals in mind, what experience could I share with them that would bring them, entertain them, and create a memory that lasts a lifetime? What could be my last hurrah at this time in their lives when they will soon be accepting jobs and entering relationships that may preclude their answering the beckoning call of their Grammy?
Here they are…with me in Scalea, Italy. This is the most grand gesture of my life (so far)! And although I am trying not to worry about outcome…it’s working out beautifully.
Originally written for and posted on Vision and Verb on July 16, 2012.