As usual at this time of year, I begin to think about all the things I feel thankful for – of course family always comes to mind first. And I’m especially grateful that my children had the opportunity to meet their great grandmother.

My mom has a sign outside her kitchen door that says “Grandchildren are your reward for not killing your kids!” I know she feels lucky to have grandchildren (10!!). Grandparents can play such a significant role in a child’s life, and I wish my children could have more time with my parents! They were relatively young when my dad died, and my mom & stepdad live too far for regular visits. Fortunately my in-laws live closer and the boys have had some more time at their home. They know how truly lucky they are to have grandparents and other special people in our extended family who would do anything for them at the drop of a hat.

When I was growing up, my grandparents lived within walking distance from my high school. I was able to borrow their car to go to my internship senior year.  My grandma could out-cheer the whole crowd at my swim meets or shows, and my sister’s field hockey games. I loved exploring their basement and my mom’s things in her childhood bedroom. They spent 6 months of each year in Miami, Florida, and brought us there (me, my sister, and my mom) every February for winter vacation. Of course I had fun at the beach and going back home in the middle of winter with an awesome suntan! But what I really loved was the extended time with my gram and gramps… the peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches… grandpa’s whistle to let us know lunch was ready… grandma’s home baked cookies… a bowl always full of sweet grapefruit… (yeah, a lot of food memories!)… sitting on the terrace looking out toward the ocean… swimming and playing in the sand with them… watching them dance together in their living room.

My grandparents played a huge role in my life and left me with such special memories. My grandpa definitely died too young, though my last memory of him was dancing with my grandma in their Florida living room, so I’ll always treasure that. And I’m grateful to still have my mom in my life – as always, I’m thankful for family, near and far.

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