I’ve found that our relationships with our grandchildren go through different seasons. One of my grandchildren is now two and another is thirty-two. I have many grandchildren between those ages also. Some are in grade school and others are in college. Some are married, some are not. They all are in very different seasons of life.
One grandson had shared many things with me while attending a local high school and we were good friends. Last August, he left our hometown for college. In September, I sent him a text but heard nothing from him for the next three months. It was a new season of life for him: college, roommates, studies, sports, band, and living away on his own. One morning in November as I was praying for him, I told the Lord that, though I realized the season had changed, I missed him and hoped he would be coming home for Thanksgiving. That afternoon as I was taking a rowboat out of our lake, I looked up and there he stood! He had found a ride with a classmate to surprise his mom and dad and make his first visit home since he left in August. The fact that he took the time to come and surprise his grandpa too was a wonderful blessing and thrill for me! We spent the next hour together talking about his first-year college experiences. We laughed as I shared with him some of mine from the distant past.
The changing seasons of life do affect our relationships with our grandchildren. I would describe my relationship with one granddaughter, who is now married and living out of state, as a bit of a struggle. Our long-distance relationship has been challenging to maintain. I continue to pray for her and let her know I love her dearly. I know she is very busy in her new season of life and often I do not get a response back to an email or a text I send. I have learned that building and keeping relationships with grandchildren is always worth my time and effort–even if it seems one-sided for a period of time.
My relationship with another granddaughter, a junior in high school in my hometown, is easier to maintain. She and I have made the family Thanksgiving meal together for the last six years – turkey, stuffing and gravy. This is one way we have been able to stay connected and show our love and care for each other. However, I recognize this season will soon change as she will be off to college shortly and a new season in our relationship will begin. My expectations will need to adapt to the change I know is coming.
I find it helpful to anticipate these seasonal shifts and do all I can to help us launch into the next season well. Though the seasons change, grandpa prays for each grandchild every day.
Recently, my daughter called and said my granddaughter – the one living out of state – whom I had not heard from in over a year, asked if she could come home to Michigan to spend part of Christmas vacation with me. She and her husband drove 12 hours to be with grandpa and her Michigan cousins for Christmas. A new season has begun!
Grandpa Bill Navarre lives in Clarklake, Michigan.