Le Diner en Blanc New York

Le Diner en Blanc New York
Lincoln Center 2012

Monday, October 27, 2008

Traveling with a Grandchild

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.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When Grandchildren Help Plan a Trip

Since several of the super grannies I interviewed for my book SUPER GRANNY (due out in March and now in page proofs) told me about trips they had taken with their grandchildren, I was delighted to talk with Heather Larson as she was researching her article on involving children in planning a trip.

I was especially happy to tell Heather the story about Dee Poujade of Oregon, whose seven-year-old granddaughter, Michaela, did so much of the planning for their glorious week in London. Some of the other ideas in Heather’s article involved going to a place where a child has written a school report, involving children in your own hobbies, and capitalizing on their interest in favorite books.

To read Heather’s lively article, which was posted earlier this month on the really helpful site, www.grandparents.com, go to: http://www.grandparents.com/gp/printarticle/travel/travel-tips/article/getaways-that-grandchildren-can-plan.html

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The gift of being a grandmother

Earlier this month I came across a beautiful paean to grandmothering. It was posted on the online site of Mothering Magazine and written by author and grandmother Angela Rossmanith. To access the entire article, go to: http://www.mothering.com/articles/body_soul/inspiration/another-kind-of-gift.html. Meanwhile, though, here’s a little taste of a discovery that so many grandparents can relate to:
“I loved my children, and of course I still do and always will, but this love I have for my grandchild is a source of enormous wonder to me. From the moment I saw her, very new and tiny, this little girl has revealed to me a fresh dimension of life, a deepening and broadening of perspective. She has been a great and gracious gift.”
Then Rossmanith goes on to tell several lyrical stories about the gifts that grandmothers give to their grandchildren. Reading them makes me realize that some of the memories our grandchildren have of us are not the ones we would have thought made an impression, but here as in so much else in life we can’t predict what becomes important to someone else.
I plan to ask my grandchildren about some of their memories of me. I’m very curious to find out what they say. Fortunately, I’m still around to keep making memories. In my next posting I’ll talk about some of the most recent memories that I hope will stay with the grandchildren.