Being a mum to a beautiful four year old girl, Amelia, as well as being Czech and living in England, I realise more than ever how important it is having grandparents in everyday life. My husband is English but his family lives 5 hours away from us, which means that we only get to see grandparents on both sides of the family a few times year. As a working mum, I am constantly on the go and miss the little break in terms of the occasional babysitting or just a helping out for a few hours if I'm unwell. Most importantly, I feel slightly guilty that Amelia doesn’t see her grandparents often. Nevertheless, she adores them and we make sure that we create many opportunities to see them regularly and spend real quality time with them.
Amelia particularly loves her Czech grandmother, who can’t actually speak English, but somehow these two have formed a very special bond, where words aren’t needed. When together, they merge into their own world, playing games for hours. My mum is literally on her knees and somehow becomes a child herself. She says that when she is with Amelia, she just forgets her arthritis and all her worries disappear. Spending time with her little granddaughter totally re-energises her, it’s like Amelia is her personal battery.
We regularly Skype her to keep the relationship strong. Granny reads her Czech fairy tales, so Amelia can practice speaking Czech and learn more about her Czech heritage. They invented their own funny games and even play hide & seek. All this helps to keep Amelia’s interest and excitement whenever she speak to her granny. It’s very emotional to see Amelia hugging the screen instead of a real hug.
We have recently visited Amelia’s great grandparents who are in the 90's. It was lovely to see the four generations together. Her great-granddad had some tricks up his sleeve and showed the grandchildren some magic, such as making a coin disappear. The children were just mesmerized. That moment made me think how Grandparents’ roles in children’s lives are so important and how something so simple in today’s world of digital revolution and constant rush is so beautiful.
Grandparents have the patience and time, when we as parents are often busy. They have interesting stories to tell, fun games to play. Grandparents Day is a fantastic day to celebrate these unique bonds. We need to make sure that we provide plenty of opportunities for our children to connect, and strengthen this special relationship. They will get back so much in return.
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children."
Alex Haley, author