When I was growing up, I was fortunate to know both sets of my grandparents. My paternal grandparents were farmers and lucky to keep their farm in spite of the depression, which was no small feat. My maternal grandparents were farmers as well. My grandfather served in WWI and was disabled as a result of being gassed in the trenches of France 100 years ago. He could no longer farm and became a carpenter. Both of my grandmothers were homemakers. I heard great stories of my paternal grandmother being very skilled at bartering, which is one of the reasons they were able to hold onto their farm – and a trait I wish I learned.

Recalling The Good Times

I tried to recall how I worked with them and spent my time with them. I looked at pictures and discovered most of my memories revolved around holidays like Christmas and Easter. I do remember riding a plow horse, not to work the land, but to experience the ride. As I recall, the ride on the old horse was without a saddle – and not that enjoyable. I also jumped off the barn hayloft and sprained my ankle once.

I remember my grandparents who lived in town had a big garden, which I rummaged through looking for strawberries and leaving the plants bare. My grandfather had an industrial-sized blade sharpener, and I loved spinning it and hearing the sounds of speed building up and up. These were all good memories, but my parents weren’t involved. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it was my special time with my grandparents.

From Grandkid To Grandparent

John and I always try to provide great experiences for our grandkids. Of course, we think they’re great moments. In 50 years, I hope our four grandkids will have fond memories of their time with us.

Eventually, I realized most of the activities with our grandkids are without their parents. It was an “aha” moment for me. My parents worked hard and probably needed time without the squirrelly little girl who needed to be entertained 24/7. (Okay, I just thought about me being a mom with two energetic girls. My parents were lifesavers. Enough said.)

New Traditions

My historical perspective of three generations working together was, obviously, limited, but not lost on me. The most recent 3G (generations) work time was when we needed the leaves and debris cleaned from our rain gutters. John and I agree that time on ladders is something we should no longer do. We called our son-in-law and asked for either his help or our grandson’s help. We’ve used each one of them in the past, all with great results. To our surprise, both our son-in-law and grandson came to the rescue. Our grandson declared we’d divide the labor. We patiently listened to his plan. Grandpa and son-in-law would carry the ladder; son-in-law would set up the ladder and assure it was safe; grandson would climb up the ladder and clean the leaves and yucky stuff out of the gutters; grandpa would supervise – which is a job done best on the ground.

There was a lot of give and take between the three workers – giving suggestions, questioning of skill level and just plain teasing. The threesome completed the task in record time, which shouldn’t be a surprise. I thought about why we don’t ask both of them over to help for similar tasks around the house. I guess we’re always worried about bothering the kids and grandchildren too much. There is a fine line between asking for help and being a pain in the rear by asking for too much help. I tend to not ask for help. I know that will change and realize I need more help each and every year.

The 3G time was good for everyone involved, and I’ll look for future opportunities for “asking for help”. As they, and we get older, the help from our family is greatly appreciated. With the mobility and opportunities available to our grandkids away from home, it’s anyone’s guess where their future endeavors might take them. You need to create memories when you can – even if it includes cleaning out the gutters.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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