The house is a mess. The lawn is only half mown. There’s a pile of computers I was supposed to fix. There is much work left undone. It’s Sunday night, and by the looks of things, the weekend was a wash.
But all is not as it seems.
It was late last week that we learned that my grandmother would be just a couple hours away from us this weekend. “Nana” lives in Tennessee now, about an eighteen-hour drive from here, and that’s more than our family of six can pull off easily. Well into her 80s, Nana is my kids’ only remaining great-grandparent, and because of her health, she can only make the trip this direction when another relative can make it with her–usually once a year, and usually on very short notice.
As soon as we heart that Nana would be within driving distance, we started working on arrangements. We found a time when she could visit, then literally put everything else on hold so we could make the trip.
The drive down was uneventful, and the visit was wonderful. I’ve always treasured time with my grandmother, but the value of getting the generations together was put into an even sharper focus when I read Miguel Guadalupe’s article last week.
The connections we have as family are one-of-a-kind. No friend, no matter how close, can replicate the bond of blood. I want to make sure my kids know their family. I want to help them cultivate those connections. I want them to have cherished memories of time spent with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
I think we made some progress with that today. We made notice of some of the things we share – I and my daughter, as well as a cousin who was also there, have inherited Nana’s red hair. My mom and another relative share a knack for explaining aloud what they see on TV (it was both scary and hilarious to listen to them parse an ESPN commercial). My kids ran all over the place with that other red-headed cousin, playing games and generally having a good time. My youngest, just three years old, spent some time on the couch with Nana and me. It’s really the first time she’s spent any time with Nana, and it was heartwarming to see her run up and give Nana a big hug when it was time to leave.
It wasn’t a long visit–just a few hours. But it was a good visit, and I think it will stick in the kids’ memories. And that makes all the unfinished weekend work well worth it.
Ben Martin is Editor-In-Chief of The Father Life.
Image by: Salva Barbera, SXC
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.