Grandma. Grandma. Music to my ears. I love the sound of these words. As I come through the door, the girls look up, and seeing me, they often come running toward me, with arms open and smiling. It melts my heart.BOKA. BOKA. THAT IS THE NAME GIVEN TO MY HUSBAND BY THE GIRLS. HE IS A FRIEND TO ALL CHILDREN. AND HE LOVES TO SPEND TIME WITH THE GIRLS AND THEY KNOW IT. HE QUICKLY JOINS THEM IN THEIR REVERIES AND EXPLORATION. USUALLY HE HAS A GENTLE AND REASSURING TOUCH. SOMETIMES, THOUGH, HE GETS GOING WITH THEM, JUST AS HE DID WITH OUR BOYS. THEY GET ROUGH AND TUMBLE AROUND THROUGH HIS ARMS AND ONTO THE FLOOR. SOMETIMES IT IS A BACKWARDS SOMERSAULT, OTHER TIMES A RIDE ON HIS BACK AROUND THE FAMILY ROOM.

Yesterday we went for a ride in Northern Virginia. We stopped by the beachfront on the other side of the Harry Nice Bridge and enjoyed watching the fishermen and families along the edge of the water. One family began to form along the edge and their profiles were so interesting I reached for my camera and took a few shots.

They were young and vigorous, but as I listened to the play I heard the young boy cry out, “Grandma, Look!” They were picking up rocks and skipping them along on the surface of the water and his had been a success.
IN MY PRACTICE I SEE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING THROUGH A TIME OF DEPRESSION. ONE OF THE LOSSES THAT OFTEN STANDS OUT IS THAT OF A GRANDPARENT. I HAVE LEARNED THAT MANY OF THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES PRIMARILY ATTACHED TO A GRANDMOTHER WHO RAISED THEM, OFTEN WHEN PARENTS WERE BUSY TRYING TO MAKE THE MONEY NECESSARY FOR THEIR SURVIVAL OR JUST TOO IMMATURE TO ASSUME THE PARENTING ROLE. GRANDMAS HAVE STEPPED IN.

Retirement plans are forestalled, vacations rearranged: all for grandchildren. And these grandparents wouldn’t want to have it any other way. It is their joy and satisfaction in life.

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