I have traveled several times with my grandchildren, ranging in age from 10 months through 19 years, most of the time with the children’s mothers as well. Last month my husband, Mark, and I traveled with Stefan, our firstborn grandchild, now 25 years old – and yes, also with his mother, our daughter, Jenny.
This latest trip was quite different from the others, consisting, as it did, of four adults traveling together. Although Mark and I had made the basic plans for our week’s trip to Greece – where we would go and where we would stay, once we were traveling our decisions were joint ones among the four of us. We all had a say in where to eat, what to do, which sights to visit, and how to get to them. And it was a delight to see how much Stefan’s presence added to our enjoyment of the trip. For one thing, we appreciated his strong young muscles as he helped us wrestle our suitcase up and down stairs, on and off the Metro, and into and out of tiny old-fashioned hotel elevators. But probably his biggest asset was his winning personality. He made a lovely new friend at a museum in Athens who was good company as she spent the evening with us. Then he found us the perfect guide to take us around the Greek island of Naxos for an unusual tour of the natural world on this lovely island. And throughout the week whenever we needed to make a telephone call for information, Stefan handled the job.
Another contribution from Stefan was a game he brought with him, which livened conversation around tables and on bus and ferry trips. Called "Black Stories," this German-language game has cards that posit a situation and give a few facts about it -- and then everyone except the person who has read the back of the card guesses what could have led to the outcome. I have looked for this game in English but haven't been successful. If anyone knows about anything similar, I'd love to hear about it.
Years before, we had been thrilled the first times each of our daughters outgrew the constant need to be cared for and supervised, and showed us how much they could contribute to our lives. Now it’s exciting to see the same kind of development and giving back occurring with our grandchildren.
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