The joys of grandparenting

By Joanne Peterson | May 10, 2012

The end of April brings the look of early spring to northern Idaho. The five-acre farm where my granddaughter Annika and her parents live is all fresh green, the dog runs crazily around the yard, and the strawberry plants send out tendrils that root over the edges of their raised beds.

The horses’ dirty winter-thick coats begin to shed, and the hens find abundant worms in the yard, with much to chat about in their funny chicken voices.

Annika and her friend Audri, in t-shirts and jeans—no need for jackets--dash outside to the swing set, where they compete to see who can swing the highest.

I sit on the patio with my notebook and watch as the two girls pump up high enough that their heads brush the pine branches beyond the swing set. Their carefree giggles wash over me like sweet clear water.

Elsewhere, at the same moment, other grandmothers sit on other sunny patios, or in city parks, Little League bleachers, school auditoriums or at soccer games watching their beloved little ones in some activity or other.

In the presence of a grandmother, grandchildren can climb to the top of the slide, play tag, practice flute, roll down a grassy hill, feed the cats or lick the frosting bowl—what they do isn’t much of an issue for the one who lovingly watches.

I know the warmth that fills the souls of those grandmothers as their eyes rest on their precious young ones. (I’m sure grandfathers have similar feelings.)

During my recent visit, Annika and I spent companionable times together indoors and out. My favorite times? The afternoon moments sharing the hammock strung between two pine trees, across the lawn, away from the house.

One afternoon, we lay side by side, swaying gently, working our way through Annika’s Spanish book, pronouncing aloud the words next to the illustrations—first, she would say the word, then I would say the word, and then on to the next.

Another afternoon, we lay with our heads at opposite ends of the hammock, visiting about all sorts of things: Her guinea pig, Pepperjack. Books, horses, 4-H, friends--and summer vacation.

It seems Annika’s maternal grandparents, who initially moved to Idaho to be near the little family, are going to the ocean with Annika and her parents for a week in June.

Since I am far too mature to feel jealous, I’ll simply be happy that Annika can walk on the sand with her other grandma and have a dandy time at the beach. There. Am I not good?  (OK. I guess I am a little jealous.)

Fortunately, I have Adam, three, and Abby, one, in West Seattle, so I can get a grandchild fix fairly often.

It takes less than an hour’s drive to walk in the door to two huggable little people who fill my heart with joy.

Eight-year-old Annika was the first grandchild to lodge in my heart, though, and I'd love to have her come visit.



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