BY DARLENE EDWARDS
My husband and I are the proud parents of two amazing adult daughters and a wonderful son-in-law. In addition, not long ago, we became grandparents to a beautiful and spunky two-year-old granddaughter—our one and only grandchild at this point. Now, I recognize there is a lot of grandparent wisdom out there and folks who have many more grandchildren than we do. I know there is so much we want to share with her; however, what is interesting is there is so much she is teaching us!. Hence, I want to share some of those experiences.
“Adding laughter to each day is often overlooked in adulthood, but our granddaughter consistently reminds us of the innocence and joy of laughter and just how good it makes us feel.”
First, the belly laugh. You recognize that sound. When a child is just so overjoyed with whatever is happening, they laugh straight from their tummy and just cackle. Literally, it travels throughout the room and makes everyone else laugh and the adults will try to continue the laughter by making funny faces or sounds. The benefits of laughter are well documented in many medical journals ranging from pain relief, to enhancing stress relief. A good belly laugh has also shown benefits in exercising the internal organs. Adding laughter to each day is often overlooked in adulthood, but our granddaughter consistently reminds us of the innocence and joy of laughter and just how good it makes us feel.
“Grandchildren are loving reminders of what we are here for.”
Everything is new and wondrous. The twinkle in our granddaughter’s eyes and the look she gives you whenever she finds something new and amazing is an incredible feeling. From a dried-up, yet colorful leaf, to a new puppy, are both exciting and wonderful in her eyes. Seeing the world for the first time, she is curious and focused on every little detail when she witnesses new things. What if adults looked at life in the same way? What if we looked up when we walked or listened for sounds that break all around us that we often overlook? Through her fresh, sparkling eyes our granddaughter teaches her grandparents that everyday can be new, interesting and exciting.
Our granddaughter loves to give out hugs. If you are feeling bad, have a “boo-boo”, or just feeling happy, she believes a hug is just what you need. Many research journals and documents validate that hugging has stress reducing effects for both huggers and may contribute to your overall health.
How does this item open? How does this item close? How many items can I carry at once? What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Our granddaughter investigates all those questions with focus and determination. Watching her face when she explores how something works is a joy to see. She teaches all the adults around her that curiosity makes all things new again. Learning new techniques and new methods of doing something helps to keep our minds sharp and growing.
Kindness and manners
Our granddaughter is so kind! Her parents consistently work at teaching her all the manners she needs to help her be successful in life. Without reservation, she will say hello and wave to neighbors on the street which immediately brings a smile to the adults that pass by. She uses words like: please, thank you and you are welcome routinely. These skills remind me that as adults we can extend more kindness to our families and our community with just a smile, a wave or a nod—the smallest of gestures.
Asking for help
Our granddaughter does not mind asking for help. When she is struggling to get her jacket on or off, she will quickly say “help please”, then the nearby adult will offer just the right amount of support to accomplish her goal. As adults, we are often reluctant to ask for help on a project or activity, fearful of what others might think. Our granddaughter will just ask for support when she needs it and then move on to her next task, not considering what others may think.
When our granddaughter completes her task, opening an item, moving something out of her path, putting on her jacket or countless other items, you can see a big smile and she will exclaim “I did, it!“ She will then encourage everyone to come see her accomplishment. As an adult, we often miss the celebrations of success which help enjoy the hard work we have completed and move us toward future tasks.
We are absolutely positive there are many more lessons to come from our granddaughter. As she grows and enters the world, just keeping our eyes and hearts open for what’s to come will certainly create more enjoyment in the days ahead. Janet Lanes reminds us: “Grandchildren are loving reminders of what we are here for.” That statement is so true.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – DARLENE EDWARDS
Darlene and her husband have two daughters, their son-in-law and a wonderful granddaughter. Darlene served in hospital administration for a large teaching medical center in central Virginia.
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