|Paynesville Press - March 20, 2002|
Grandparents are important to kids
I have 50 days of high school left as I write this column. Fifty days left to put the final touches on my plans for next fall as the time to leave home draws near.
While I find myself eagerly awaiting the future, I also have found myself reflecting on my past. I have come to the realization that I have had one of the best childhoods that a kid could have.
I attribute this partly to the fact that the area in and around Paynesville is extremely sheltered and safe. It tends to be an ideal place to lead a carefree childhood.
More important than this though, I think the reason I had the perfect life as a kid was because of all the time I spent with my grandparents.
I was blessed with four of the most caring and fun grandparents there could be. Like many kids, both of my parents worked, so my sister and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents. As I have grown older, it has become more and more obvious to me all the ways they enriched our lives.
When you are a kid all that really matters is having fun and my grandparents made this pretty easy. They were always willing to play games with us, and there was always time for a trip to the Dairy Queen. They rarely got mad, and we got to do so many things that mom and dad would never let us do.
Yes, I will admit it, our grandparents were so wonderful because they spoiled us in every way possible. Yet I feel that we were spoiled in a good way, not with toys and candy, but rather with love.
Each grandparent has taught me so many things and given me so much. I have always felt special. It is hard to believe, but I have a hard time recalling visiting either one of their homes and not seeing a picture of myself displayed on the refrigerator.
No holiday passes without receiving a card in the mail from them.
More important, however, are all the things I have learned from these people in the time I spent with them while growing up. They have been extremely influential. I have come to follow the examples I witnessed at a young age and maintain the things that they value, such as hard work, helping others, and having a strong faith. These were and still are large parts of their lives, as are having fun and being with friends and family doing the things that they enjoy.
All the things they have done for me are too numerous to even attempt to list. I guess the greatest thing that I share with them are the memories I have of growing up and the time spent with them. With my Grandpa E., I will always recall the day we made mud pies in the backyard with a few frisbees and some black dirt and water. My mom was only too thrilled to find what grandpa and I made for her.
I'll never forget the rabbit costume that Grandma E. made me for my kindergarten circus. I can't imagine the hours she must have put into it to make it so perfect. In my opinion, it was probably the best rabbit costume to ever appear in any kindergarten circus and I was the proudest rabbit.
With my Grandpa H., there have been countless trips to local ball games and, of course, Twins games. I can't remember ever coming home hungry or without at least three souvenirs. I have to thank grandpa for my knowledge of the game of baseball.
The grandparent that I spent the most time with was my Grandma H. My sister and I spent every afternoon after school with her up until we were old enough to play sports. These afternoons were seldom boring. We spent a lot of time playing cards or just about any board game one could think of, working in the garden, or helping her cook or bake.
One special memory I have with grandma was jumping rope in the kitchen when it was too cold to go outside. No one else's grandma I knew could jump rope and not even mom let us do it in the kitchen.
In the state of the world at the present time, I think it is more important than ever to have strong families. I only wish everyone in the world will be or would've been given all the love, attention, and knowledge that I was as a child.
I have lost one of these wonderful people as I have grown and this loss has made me more aware than ever that nothing in life should be taken for granted. I will always be thankful that I was able to spend so much of my childhood with her.
Now as I prepare for my future and wave goodbye to my carefree childhood, I will take everything I learned from my grandparents with me. I thank them for spoiling me with love and always being proud of me. I only hope that there are many other kids who are as fortunate as I to have grandparents who are so willing to share their lives with them.
Jen Hess is a senior at Paynesville Area High School
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