We just returned from a family vacation to Nantucket to celebrate my twins’ 40th birthday. We had the whole family there, and it was a glorious week. I had so much fun being with them after a year of separation. I realized many things last week that I wanted to share with you.
First, there is no way I could be old enough to have 40-year-old twins, but I cannot seem to find a fact to support that. Nevertheless, it is true, and they are grown men of whom I am very proud.
I realized with the grandchildren that what is important to them varies drastically to that of an adult. Now that seems obvious, but have we really stopped to think about that? Adults love to eat at wonderful new places. Kids are looking for normal places that are familiar to them. They are not adventuresome in their eating.
All that matters is a swimming pool! After that, everything else is just icing on the cake. The grands could swim for hours and never tire of it. And if they can get everyone else in the pool, then it’s even more fun.
My grandson said all he wanted to do was spend time with Gigi (me). Shopping and seeing the town was irrelevant to him. Now to most people that is not good. As the others were leaving to stroll the streets and shop, we stayed in and played Uno for four solid hours. I told my kids that a whole morning with your grandson is a huge treat and one that I will cherish forever. As he gets older, I imagine that will not be the case. He could recall every game he won, which was most, and I recall the wonderful conversations we had—just the two of us.
My granddaughter was the opposite. She wanted to explore the island and shop with Gigi. Of course, she did—I would want to shop with me, too! But I was put in charge of determining if the swimsuit she had seen and wanted was a good choice. Oh, my goodness, that was tricky. When I saw it, I was horrified as to the lack of fabric in the suit that was to be worn by a 10-year-old. As we shopped in this cute store, we talked about choosing a style rather than wearing something because everyone else was wearing it. We ended up with cute suits, including a one-piece that she looked fabulous wearing. Girls always want to grow up fast, and I could totally relate to that. We didn’t get the skimpy suit; we got the cutest thing in the store, and she loved it!
My sons were quite entertaining, and I realized they are grown and don’t need my advice on everything. Can you imagine? In fact, they made the decisions on activities and restaurants while Neal and I enjoyed not having to make decisions. They planned the trip, giving great attention to detail. They are grown up, and I celebrate them!
So, what did I learn?
When your kids are grown, let them be grown.
Seeing things through the eyes of children as they are growing up is quite different than seeing things through the eyes of adults. That’s oftentimes where we mess up—trying to get them to think as an adult. Swimming in the pool will always trump any other activity on the priority list. They don’t want new strange food, they want pizza.
Kids want your time! Knowing they have our undivided attention is the best gift we can give. And the best gift they give us is intriguing thoughts and delightful conversation. Their perspective on things is fascinating.
I will treasure memories from this week and look forward to more times together. The love in our family was very evident, and that is the ultimate gift for all.