May 10, 2013
In this monthly column, DiDi LeMay shares adventures from her busy life in the exciting multicultural city of Toronto.
These days, many families are spread around the world. Grandparents remain in the “old country” while sons and daughters move to Canada; children and grandchildren move thousands of miles across the country to pursue new careers.
Grandparents miss their grandkids and grandkids miss their grandparents. Yes, we are a phone call, text, e-mail or even a video chat away, but there’s nothing like visiting grandmother for an afternoon tea or for Sunday family dinner. Connecting with grandma and grandpa is such an important part of growing up.
I met a family that had found a touching solution to this matter.
While walking my dog, Rosie, through the park, I often saw a grandmother and her grandson walking or playing — just having fun. Some days they would sit on a bench and relax or have a picnic in the park.
One day, the little boy ran up to me and asked if he could pet my dog. His grandmother followed him.
“Did you ask politely if you could pet the dog?” she asked.
“Yes, Grandma Julie,” he answered.
After that day, I looked forward to seeing the two in the park and would wave at them as they were playing. Rosie always wanted to go greet them, and one day we did. I sat on the bench next to theirs and the little boy came over to pet Rosie again.
“My name is Kyle,” he said. “What is the doggy’s name?”
“Rosie,” I told him. “You have lots of fun with your grandma, don’t you?”
As he pointed to his grandmother he said, “She is my ‘Canada grandmother,’ Grandma Julie.”
I must have had a puzzled look on my face, because “Grandma Julie” explained.
Her kids and grandkids had moved to Vancouver a few years ago for work. Kyle’s parents had moved to Canada when his father was transferred here and his grandparents live in Brazil. Julie explained that she lives in the same building as Kyle and his parents. After retiring as a teacher, she missed spending time with children. She also missed her children and grandchildren. Kyle’s mom needed to go back to work and it seemed it was meant to be that they met.
During the months that they had been together, Julie and Kyle had developed a wonderful friendship. Julie helps Kyle with his homework and takes him to the playground and park. Kyle chats about his days in school and teaches Julie video games. Both enjoy each other’s company, filling a need for a grandmother-grandson relationship.
While chatting with them, I could see the affection they had for each other and knew this time in their lives was going to be a tender memory for both.
With a warm glow in my heart, I saw how families of all sorts connect.