By Shela Dean
I sometimes feel jealous of the relationship my husband Dale has with our grandchildren. He is more fun than the proverbial barrel of monkeys. One night, when the girls were having a sleepover, I found them jumping on the bed and throwing their clothes on the ceiling fan, all with Dale’s encouragement. He would then turn the underwear and T-shirt littered fan on high, the clothes would fly around the room, and the girls would squeal with delight as they raced to catch the clothing before it hit the ground. Another day I found Dale squirting the patio with a hose and the girls squirming around on their tummies. “Look, Mimi!” they shouted, “We’re patio swimming!”
In a million years I would not have thought to throw clothes on the ceiling fan or to invent patio swimming. What’s more, they hang on every word when he tells one of his many stories. And, he can play whatever game they choose long after the rest of us have shouted, “Uncle!”
What about me?
I used to worry that the girls would remember Dale more fondly than they will remember me. I felt less of a grandparent because I couldn’t make the girls laugh so hard they lost their breath, regale them with stories they would ask to hear over and again, or be the human jungle gym they climb on. But, you know what? When the girls need help with a school or craft project, when they scrape their knee, want to learn how to knit, or want their backs rubbed at bedtime, I’m the one they turn to.
We each have our uniquely different, but no less valuable, way of expressing love, sharing our talents and capabilities, and creating relationships with our grandchildren. Just between you and me, I do sometimes wish I was more fun, but I now know that, between us, our two granddaughters have the best of all grandparent worlds: fun, laughter, learning, comfort, and, most of all, unconditional love.
Fun Men are Sexy Men
I’ve come to realize that Dale and I complement each other and, together, make the perfect grandparent. With that realization, I remember why I fell in love with Dale in the first place. He is a lot of fun in every important way, including between the sheets! Watching Dale with our granddaughters is a wonderful—and yes, even sexy—thing to behold. It reminds me of all the qualities about him that I love and appreciate.
Fun activities you can try
Here are some suggested ways to be more fun
- Tell stories from your childhood or theirs. My granddaughters both love to hear about the day they were born. It’s even more fun with photos to show them.
- Make up stories together, taking turns adding to the story.
- Make JibJab videos! My grandkids can do this for hours on end
- Have movie night. Take it outdoors with a sheet as a screen and a projector.
- Share your hobbies and interests, making it age appropriate.
Shela Dean is a relationship coach, speaker and bestselling author of ReDate Your Mate, 4 Steps to Falling in Love All Over Again (Boomer Edition).