When I was trying to persuade my OH that we should have a baby, one of the many arguments I used was how I really wanted my grandparents to live to see me give them a great grandchild. I know, I was pulling at many strings at that time! But they were in their 70's and 80's and my Na (paternal) had been ill and I was worried that there was a chance that they may not all live to see their first great grandchild.
I consider myself to be extremely lucky that at my age I still have both sets of grandparents in my life. I have such fond memories of them over my life to date and they have been wonderful to my brother and I as they are now to my own children. Its funny that because they became grandparents so young (my Mum's mum for example was in her early 40's when I was born), and I have grown up with fairly active and young at heart grandparents I have never really considered them to be old. What I mean is, that a lot of my friends grandparent or grandparents were always older and seemed more old fashioned compared to mine.
Before my parents, brother and I moved down to Devon back in 1986, we saw each of my grandparents weekly and they played a big part in our lives, including holidays spent with them, weekends and after school even. After moving to this part of the country, we saw them less and in particular my dad's parents as my Nanny hated the journey in the car and then eventually she and my Na refused to drive down here anymore finding the car journey too much for them. My Mum's parents still make the journey to stay with my Mum and Step Dad every few months, and therefore unlike my paternal grandparents they have developed a close relationship with Burton and Jenson. Unfortunately, my other Nanny and Na have only met their great grandchildren twice for which I do feel ever so guilty and ashamed about, and it is a regret if mine that we don't see more of them. I know that the older each of them becomes the less opportunities I and the boys will get to see them. Thats why when we do meet with either set, I make the most of it and I am sure they do too.
I can still recall the day I phoned each of my grandparents to tell them the exciting news that I was pregnant. I think they had all given up on it ever happening as at my age, at the time I was 34, and were all a little taken a back that the day of them becoming great grandparents had finally become a certainty. My Dad's Mum, in particular, sounded the most in shock and questioned this new information as if I had made a mistake!
When each of my Nannies and Na's held their first great grandchild for the first time, I was so proud and pleased that they were able to be a part of his (and now Jenson's) life.
I think it is very important that my children will gain life lessons and experiences from the different family generations they are a part of. Old as well as young people have a huge part to play in shaping the boy's lives, and their grandparents and great grandparents have so much to offer and so many wonderful stories and memories to pass on to them.
My (maternal) Na taught Burton a rhyme last time they visited which goes a bit like this:
Peas are good for the knees
Pies are good for the eyes
Basically rhyming food with body parts. It made me smile for two reasons: 1). he used to sing that to my brother and I and we would see what we could come up with and 2) for about a week after everytime we would eat a meal Burton would ask me what something he was eating was good for!! I know that isn't a legacy by any means, but its just something that my Na did with me and no doubt my Mum too.
I think that the older I become the more I appreciate my family, even more so since I now have one of my own. Both of my Na's have suffered with bad health recently and it makes me realise how old and frail they are really - something I never thought in my youth or even during my 20's. It makes me value and be grateful to the time we all spend together now and for the memories I have of them in my life.