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Posted on September 27, 2011 by Christine Crosby in Ann Marie Osborn, Guest Writer

Memories – The Gift that Lasts a Lifetime

Joan Beren with grandson, Henry Platt

 You can forget the Norman Rockwell image of grandma sitting in a rocking chair knitting sweaters forher grandchildren. Instead of homemade sweaters, Joan Beren gives each of her grandchildren the gift of a unique adventure that they get to choose.

 When her first grandchild was born, Joan conceived an idea that would become a family tradition, a right of passage so to speak. For their 13th birthday, each grandchild was given the opportunity to select a place that they would like to visit and an event that they would like to attend. Over the years, the older children shared the stories of their “grandma” adventures with the younger children and the anticipation grew as each child waited for that special birthday to arrive.

As a lifelong sports enthusiast, Joan spent countless weekends watching baseball, basketball, and football, while growing up in Columbus, Ohio. It is not surprising then, that sports have held a special place in her life and that of her children and grandchildren. Sports usually ranked at the top of the list of events that the children wanted to attend. To ensure that everything would go smoothly, Joan, sought help from a tour planning professional. As fate would have it, she found Teresa Weybrew, directorof sales forSports Travel and Tours. Teresa, a mother herself, listened to the experiences Joan wanted to create foreach grandchild and carefully planned trips, which included fun sightseeing combined with oneormore exciting professional sporting events. Baseball road trips with visits to famous and historic stadiums were always a big hit.

Fourteen grandchildren later, Joan’s concept has not only become a family tradition, she has inspired many friends and acquaintances to follow her example. As Joan is quick to point out, one-on-one time with our grandchildren is one of the most precious gifts we can ever give to them and to ourselves. As she anticipates the birth of her first great-grandchild, Joan looks forward to continuing this tradition with the next generation. “Having something to look forward to keeps me young,” says Joan. “I remember the late George Burns, who lived to be 100; often remarking that he could not die, because he was booked. I can’t die because I have too much fun taking trips with my grandchildren.”

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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