Occasionally I’m fortunate enough to witness or overhear visits between grandparents and grandchildren. Where many adult children or grown up visitors may find themselves… um…’less than comfortable’ with the changes that are present in an elderly friend, our best teachers for how to interact can end up being the young ones we spend so much time trying to shape and form. This is a time when we can learn from them- a little role reversal if you will.
So what is it that we can learn from these kids interacting with their grandparents? We can learn about being in the present. Case in point, here’s an exchange that echoed down the hall outside my office.
“Grandma, did you know that you have the same birthday as Joan Rivers? “ (Child had an app open on his phone to find out famous birthdays).
“I do? I didn’t know that! Wow, I’m lucky to share a birthday with her.”
“Oh, and look it says that my brother has the same birthday as Ronald Reagan Jr, Cher and Jimmy Stewart. Wow, what a group of celebrities!”
“I always loved Jimmy Stewart. He was one of my favorite actors of all times.”
“And Dad shares a birthday with Nell Carter.”
“Aaahh, yes, Nell Carter.”
And so the conversation went. Nothing to heavy, nothing requiring short term memory- just simply being in the moment, and talking about *whatever*.
The result? By the end of the visit, the two of them (grandmother and grandson) had spent time connecting and being. To me, this is the definition of a successful visit- filled with meaningful interaction and connection. What a treasure to stumble on those moments of being- alongside our seniors…