As a 34-year-old woman, I know that I am extremely lucky to have all four of my grandparents alive and in good health — yes they are old, but have no serious illnesses or debilitating conditions. I am happy to say that I have a good relationship with each of them, despite them living in Chile. I make it a point to call them at least once a month and more importantly keep them updated on their great-grandchildren.
I cannot wrap my head around the idea of being a grandmother, much less being a GREAT-grandmother. It must be truly an amazing experience and one that I deem a truly special relationship. My brother’s wedding was a few weeks ago, and sadly not everyone from Chile could make it, but my father’s father, my abuelo, decided he couldn’t miss it. He traveled with two of my uncles and after years of only ever seeing him in Chile, I had him HERE, in MY home and with MY children — it was magical.
My son is nearly 5 years old and he already has a hard time understanding that my father is HIS grandfather, so you can imagine how confusing it is to try to explain to him that my grandfather is HIS bis-abuelo/great-grandfather. He has different names for them so he just thinks he has 3 grandfathers. With each one he has special memories and stories he likes to tell “Mami, remember when we were in Opa’s house in Chile….” or “I remember when Abuelo Cano let me have chocolate and cake for dinner.”
One of my great-grandfathers passed away when I was 8 and I cried for days — despite not having a close relationship, I had memories of running around his front yard with my brother and the feeling of being loved by him. I want my children to have that special feeling and beautiful memories with their great-parents, something that is so rare. Because we don’t see them but once a year or every two years, I keep my son’s memory fresh by having pictures of them around the house, telling him stories of them, and encouraging him to speak to them on the phone.
It’s the very least I can do and hope that it has a big impact in his life.