Their hands rest side-by-side as they chat over my mama’s life story. Gently, she fingers each charm of the bracelet she’s had for decades, and she tells of each memory represented by a small charm, determined to pass these along and leave a legacy, this portion through the trusted heart of her only granddaughter. My girl listens intently, jotting notes in her scrolled but neat handwriting, precisely documenting so she won’t forget. This act of legacy leaving is intentional grandparenting, and more, it’s intentional relationship that is a gift to each one of us.
As I watch from the adjoining room, I’m ever-so-grateful for the gift that is memory, the intentional way in which my mom uses pockets of time to instill in her grandkids the story of the past, so they can carry it to the future. I’m thinking of the moments we’ve made together, the spoiling I’ve had in friendships with older women than me. It’s bittersweet to realize there are moments lost, but it renews my commitment to foster friendships with those in my season and those well before me, to share what I’m learning with those who are yet to walk the paths I have walked. I want to connect with those who are like me and those who are different, because I know I have something to give, and something to gain, in doing it.
Sometimes, it’s hard work to connect with those who are in a different season of life from ours. But it’s oh-so-important, because each one of us has something to teach, and something to learn.
On the issue of grand-parenting, I’m thankful that our kids have family who is intentional about building genuine relationship. From cross-country visits, to annual hunting trips, to trips back to the growing-up-home of their grandpa, they’ve been blessed to build memories. Those memories teach my children what is forever-important, and I know they will impact their own parenting, their friendships, and their marriages.
My second son has moved to another state to work and to explore what God has in this season and the one to come. He’s independent: fiercely independent. But as he stretches his wings, he’s also reaching back, keeping ties strong as he knows how. Recently, he texted me and asked about my family. In talking with a new friend, he realized he didn’t know as much as he’d like to know about my aunts-and-uncles-and-cousins-and-sibling. It was so cool to have a few moments to share those with him, to do my own legacy leaving, and I know there will be more stories to come. I hope even more, that he will build strong ties with his own siblings, and create beautiful stories to pass down to those who’ll come after them all.
Legacy leaving is sometimes uncomfortable, but as we stretch to give to others a piece of ourselves, we grow, too.
I had to twist arms (almost literally!), but recently, my mom and my daughter sat down with me and shared live on Facebook about intentional connection with others in different seasons of life (click to view). For my mom, doing anything “live” and on camera, is an act of sacrificial love… and in this case, one of intentional grandparenting. I’d love to know your thoughts, and how you’re learning and growing with others in different seasons. Share your own thoughts below? And be blessed!