How many of you remember your grandparents sneaking sugar packets, breadsticks, or crackers into their takeout bags, Members Only jackets, or pocketbooks when you ate out? Of course you do! That’s just how children of The Great Depression were raised. They took anything they could put their hands on, especially if it was free. We would do the same thing today if faced with those hardships. Even though there is quite a generation gap between grandparents and grandchildren, they’re still able to find ways to connect. Or at least try. And that’s what makes the grandparent/grandchild relationship so unique and special.
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: Stop! That’s stealing! You can’t do that.
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: It’s not stealing. The restaurant has plenty more breadsticks. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t offer the breadsticks in the first place.
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: You don’t even eat the breadsticks that you take home. Why do you need them?
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: Sure I do! Sometimes I’m hungry late at night and want a snack. What’s it to you?
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: To the server: Excuse me, any chance we can have some more breadsticks? We ran out. You wink and hand the breadsticks over to your grandparents so they can sneak them into their coat pockets or purse.
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: Thank you. I didn’t want to say anything because I know it upsets you, but I really wanted more.
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: Let’s go to the zoo! Let’s go to the pool! Let’s eat Chinese food!
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: Great ideas. Let’s do it!
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: I already made plans with my friends. Otherwise, that would’ve been a lot of fun. Next time.
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: Don’t worry about it. I didn’t give you a lot of notice. Yeah, we’ll do it next time.
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: Can I take you some place special?
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: Any time I spend with you is special. You decide.
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: Please don’t make me go. My parents said I don’t have to.
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: Your parents called and asked me to take you because they both have to go to work. I’ll get you a Happy Meal afterwards.
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: Thanks for taking me, but I can take care of myself now that I’m back home.
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: I know. I’ll keep you company until your parents come home, if you don’t mind. You like chicken noodle soup, right? I’ll make you some.
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: You ready to go to the doctor?
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: I’m fine. I don’t know why I have to go. Doctors today…they make you go see their friends who they say are “specialists.” I’ve never taken so many tests in my life. It’s all a big money making scheme. Everyone’s an opportunist today.
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: I don’t know anyone here. Who are these people?
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: You don’t remember your cousin Veronica? She used to hold you all the time when you were a baby.
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: When is this party over? I’m bored.
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: This is my opportunity to show you off to my side of the family. Just do me a favor and smile. It won’t kill you to look like you’re having fun.
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: This wedding is a blast. Why are you sitting down? Come dance with me.
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: Maybe later. (Pause) Okay, fine. Only one dance though. I don’t know how to dance to this type of music. (Five dances later) I still got it!
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: Stop rushing me! I’m going as fast as I can.
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: I don’t want to be late. We have a reservation and will lose it if we don’t get there soon.
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: What’s taking you so long? My parents are in the car waiting.
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: I’m ready. I just have to put my shirt, pants, and shoes on.
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: There’s no rush. We’ll get there when we get there.
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: That’s good. I don’t like rushing around. Everyone is in a hurry these days.
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: My parents said I have to make sure you only have one beer at dinner tonight. Or else they won’t let me come out with you anymore.
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: Tell your parents that they’re a pain.
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: I feel like my parents don’t trust me at all. And they’re so annoying.
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: I understand, but your parents are trying to raise you the right way. They’re doing the best they can.
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: I’m so lucky to have my parents.
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: I’m lucky to have your parents, too.
7-12 Year Old Grandkid: Why doesn’t Uncle Frank wear his wedding ring anymore? I heard my mom asking my dad.
62-67 Year Old Grandparent: That’s none of your business!
13-18 Year Old Grandkid: I can’t believe Uncle Frank cheated on Aunt Donna.
68-73 Year Old Grandparent: Don’t talk about that in public. You can only mention it when we’re together in private.
19-24 Year Old Grandkid: Uncle Frank was a gambler, too? I never knew that.
74-79 Year Old Grandparent: That’s only the half of it. His dad told my dad when they got engaged, “I don’t know why your daughter is marrying my son. He’s a loser.” Make sure you choose your partner carefully. You don’t want to marry someone like Uncle Frank.
The kids mature and the grandparents begin acting like children. The dynamic switches and missed opportunities, past mistakes, and proud moments stand out for the grandparents, while the grandchildren attempt to make the most of their opportunities, steer clear of mistakes, and create a legacy. And somewhere along the way, the greatest lesson of all is passed down: You only have one life on this earth. Make sure you live it the way you want to.