Here we are, grandparents. It’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” and yet, for many of us, this year has been anything but wonderful. At a time when we’re typically making plans and preparations for more of that priceless time with our grandkids, this year some of us will have to do without.
With all the changes brought on by COVID-19 and social distancing, it’s easy to focus on everything we’re missing out on—a “glass half-empty” perspective. So here’s a brief reminder of the good things we still have, even with social distancing.
First and foremost, we still have incredible grandchildren. Sure, it won’t be nearly as fulfilling if we only get to see them on a phone or computer screen this year, or we’re separated by a window or six feet apart outside. But the bottom line is that our grandkids are still a great reason to celebrate, and even if this year’s celebration is hard compared to most years, it’s surely better than nothing.
How much do you enjoy seeing their smile? How much pride do you have hearing about what they’re accomplishing in something they enjoy? We should never take our grandchildren for granted, even if the circumstances are difficult or our time with them is limited.
Second, we still have a powerful influence. With whatever time we get to see or be with our grandchildren, we should still do our very best. That might mean thinking ahead: preparing a game to play by video or having a list of questions we can ask them about Christmas. Maybe we can start using some tricks and tips from long-distance grandparents, like sending more letters and cards through the mail, getting creative with email, texting, and apps like Marco Polo.
Even from a distance or on Facetime, we can keep investing in the relationship, encouraging and shaping our grandkids. We are still strong, reliable role models. We can make the most of whatever opportunities we have.
And third, we still have Christmas spirit. It probably depends on how each of us defines “Christmas spirit,” but this is about maintaining a positive attitude despite the challenges. We might long for a “perfect Christmas” like we’ve had in years past, which might only lead to frustration. But our grandkids likely aren’t worrying about expectations like that. Children, particularly younger ones, are relatively simple. They just want to see and talk to Nana and Papa as part of their Christmas. We can do that even in a difficult situation, and our attitude is the key.
Even if we can’t change our circumstances in this crazy year, we can change our perspective. We still have very good reasons to have love, joy, hope, peace, and everything else that goes with Christmas spirit. And we still have opportunities to create memories with our grandkids.
What’s your attitude approaching the holidays this year? Share some encouragement with other like-minded grandparents on our Facebook page.