Stay Close To The Young

Black & white photo of grandmother & two children

25th June 2013

Stay Close To The Young
And A Little Rubs Off
Alan Jay Lerner

This photograph of my paternal grandmother Evelyn, my brother David and myself was taken in 1962, we had recently moved to live next door to our grandparents in a small village in south Oxfordshire.  For five years we  were able to be a part of Evelyn's everyday life and she enjoyed her time with her grandchildren, including another brother who came along in 1963. A special bond developed between David and Evelyn and I also have a lovely  memory of going by myself with her to visit her family in Wales for a few days,  I think I must have been between five and six as I wrote about it at school (I still have the book that I wrote in). Those shared years are treasured because Evelyn died when I was six, this is one of only two photos that we have of her with us and it is such a natural snapshot that epitomizes our life at that time; my brother and I are all dirty from playing in the garden and by the looks on Evelyn's and our faces we are playing up to the camera, the picture is a family favourite.

The years passed and I had my own three children who grew up seeing their paternal grandparents more than the maternal ones mainly due to location.  Although not living next door, they were only a few miles away so they would see them usually at least once a week.  Their paternal grandmother Gloria was a natural with young children and gave them lots of attention, playing games and reading to them, they loved to be with her and it was obvious that she enjoyed their company just as much, stay close to the young and a little rubs off is a fitting quote for her.  

Time flies by and a few weeks before my thirty seventh birthday I became a grandmother.  I hoped to see my grandaughter Jessica often and although her parents relationship only lasted until she was a few months old, luckily her mother wanted her to have a good relationship with her father so Jessica would often come and stay with us.  A few years later my youngest daughter Emma married and had two children whilst still living with me so I was able to be a big part of their lives. It is obviously not the best circumstances for a young couple to begin married life so they were eager to find a home of their own but Emma and I often talked of the our ideal situation of living next door to each other, just as I had been next door to my grandmother years before. 

The inevitable happened and they found a home to move to, luckily they were able to stay close as it was only four miles away.  I visited when I could and in the meantime my other daughter Julie was blessed with her first child.  About eighteen months after Emma moved, her next door neighbour told her that they were moving out, so we (my son and I) immediately contacted the property owners to apply for the house. There were several hurdles to get through but we kept positive that it would all turn out, and it did as a few weeks later we moved in. This is a good example of the Law of Attraction working in my life.

Living with my son and his daughter, being next door to one of my daughters and her family obviously means that I spend more time with them than with my other daughter and her family, but the wonderful thing is that they live close to her husbands parents and have a great relationship with them and are able to see them almost daily, as they live very close to their school.

Becoming a grandparent is a glorious experience, you have all the love and joys in a double blessing; there's your own child's experiences along with the complete miracle of a newborn baby. As they both grow in their new roles you are there to be a part of it all, but with the wisdom of age and the lack of full-time responsibility your supporting role is much less demanding, but just as much full of love as your first time around.  

It's true that if you stay close to the young a little rubs off because babies and children are a great source of learning more about the most important things in life. They are such a joy and blessing, a constant source of love and inspiration, bubbling over with enthusiasm and creativity they are  brilliant guides to living life in a state of wonder and appreciation of the simple things that are so easily missed when we are rushing around trying to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. From my own experience I would say that you grow and learn a tremendous amount when you become a parent, but there is even more that you can learn from the young ones of the next generation if you are open to it. Who would not want to stay close?

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