Two years ago I went to visit my Sister-in-Law in Los Angeles and also had the privilege of spending time with her grand kids (my niece's children). I instantly fell in love with both of these kids. Drew was around 8 at the time and Sasha was 5 or 6. I wanted to connect with them and be a great auntie, but as I talked to them, I couldn't find a lot in common. They both liked sports. Sasha played soccer, Drew was into basketball. I knew nothing about either. But I had brought along a birdhouse kit for each of them and I helped them build them and then they painted them. And they really enjoyed it. I heard later that they had hung the birdhouses and had families raised in them. What a gratifying project. While I was there I also helped them build a skateboard ramp. I think they were a little amazed that I knew how to use a screwdriver.
Drew with his birdhouse.
Sasha had to really scrape the bottle of her paint jar to get enough green paint for her birdhouse.
So I had connected with them on the subject of birds. (That Christmas, I sent them an Audubon book on Bird Identification).
But I still wanted to connect on a deeper level. I found a way to do that on my last day there. We were taking a walk and Drew found a piece of quartz on the side of the road. We got to talking about rocks and I found that he was very interested in them. I am also a rock and gem collector and so when I got home, I sent him a nice assortment of stones and sent Sasha some color and activity books. This went on for a while - sending care packages of stones and books, until one day I got a terse e-mail from Sasha saying simply "I like rocks too!". So now they both get stones and I've sent them some stone identification books. I'm always picking their brains to see what else we have in common that I can build on. I like to think that I have made an impact of sorts in their lives. I am very nature oriented and I wanted to give them a little bit of that side of me. And I feel like I have.
I encourage all of you to find some young people and do what you can to impart your grandmother wisdom to them. In this day and age, it's a very important commodity.
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