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Holding Hands Across the King-size Bed.

A funny thing has happened to my daughter’s children. It would appear that they’ve fallen in love with their great-grandparents. The older I get, the more I realize how unique it is that these kids should even know their great-grandparents, let alone have more than a passing interest in them. At the same time, my heart breaks with those who have lost their own parents, and I feel a certain amount of guilt that I still have both of mine.

I was acquainted with two of my great-grandmothers. They were both nice women whom I saw occasionally, but that’s it. I only recall them as onlookers at the edge of family events, and I seldom spoke to them directly, unless prompted. It would never have occurred to me to snuggle up beside them on the sofa, nor would I have wanted to spend time with them on my own, without my parents around. That’s why I’m both surprised and delighted by the fact that my grandchildren love to see my parents — their great-grandparents — whom they call Grandpa and Grandma. (We’re Pop and Nan.)

Maggie and Grandma.

Maggie, the oldest, is six now, and ever since Christmas she’s been bugging Grandma to let her come and sleep over. My mom was a little reluctant at first, thinking that the novelty of spending the night would wear off around bedtime, but Maggie persisted. Finally, her reverse-invitation was accepted and a few days ago Maggie’s parents took her to Grandma and Grandpa’s condo to spend the night.

When bedtime came, Maggie was offered a choice of sleeping spots; the spare bedroom, far from Grandma and Grandpa’s room, the big, padded window seat in the livingroom,

The big window seat would make a perfect bed for a small visitor.

or the couch in the  sunroom, right beside Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom. It was a tough choice, but Maggie decided she would sleep on the couch near them. My perceptive father, who didn’t raise five girls without learning a thing or two, offered to sleep in the spare room “just in case” Maggie might need to climb into bed with Grandma.

Grandpa with Maggie when she was just two. This picture was taken when we visited Maggie’s Great-great-Granny Diller.

Sure enough, once Grandpa was tucked into his own bed, Maggie decided to do just that, and she laughed and chatted with Grandma, carrying on as though she was having a sleepover with one of her own friends. My mother couldn’t believe that a little girl would appear to be having so much fun with an old lady, but she revelled in every moment.

Maggie’s usual bedtime was long past when Grandma finally decided it was time for her to settle down, so she reached across the king-size bed, took her little hand, and held it until she was fast asleep.

Am I envious? A little. I wish I would have had that experience when I was Maggie’s age.

Am I happy? Yes, I’m thrilled, and I wish I had a picture of those hands: great-grandma reaching not just across the big bed, but across the generations, to hold her great-granddaughter tight.


Phyllis writes words: words for stories, and words for books. Phyllis writes words for blogs too.

14 thoughts on “Holding Hands Across the King-size Bed.

    1. I amended my post to add that I often feel guilty about the fact that I have both of my parents still — and they’re both healthy and active too.

      It makes me sad to try to imagine how much you miss your parents, patti. I simply can’t imagine how it will feel to miss mine.

  1. I am sitting here on this gloomy morning trying and mostly failing to write a key Alex and Signy scene feeling a little bored and quite distracted. Thus, it was with great pleasure that the ding of my cell phone announced an incoming mail – that is was a new post from you was an added bonus!
    What a wonderful story – the picture of those hands bridging generations across a king sized bed was absolutely fantastic. Your ability to evoke such heart warming emotions with just a few strokes of the pen is so impressive.
    Best of all – reading good writing always inspires me. So – back to the Signy scene I go – feeling more focused and upbeat. Thanks!!

  2. My husband and I took our son to meet my husband’s grandfather when he was a toddler. My son thought great grandad’s chair on wheels was the greatest thing ever, and pushed him all around the room. It was the last time we saw him as he died soon after. I’m glad for that happy memory.

    1. Isn’t it funny how insignificant things like this mean so much later on. I wish someone would hit me over the head and say, “Remember this!! Some day you’re going to wish you could recall every detail.”

  3. A very touching story, Phyllis. I have fond memories of my great-grandmother, although I never would have spent the night with her. I’m sad for my own kids that they never really got to know even their grandpa, my father. Jeff was 4 and Carrie 9 when he passed away. I grew up between both sets of grandparents with great-grandma Byer across the road. I found it rather irritating at times, but now that I’m older and wiser, I realize how very fortunate I was. When I was married I had all 4 grandparents at my wedding…Carrie had none and I felt sad for her. Keep up with your writing. I always enjoy reading them!

    1. Thanks, Esther. I’m glad you enjoy reading — and I especially enjoy my readers’ responses. I really liked reading yours and it reminded me of visiting your dad on my lunch breaks when he was in the hospital.

  4. I was blessed to know three great grandmothers and a great grandfather. I had sleepovers at the grandparents, great-grandies were next door. Once I got to sleep in their spare room – I thought that was pretty special! I remember cooking and reading with all the greats but my most favourite memory is off great grandpa. Anyone remember the cylinders that you turned upside down and back up? They would moo, cluck or make the sound of whatever animal was on the outside. We used to spend what seemed like hours sitting in the ‘Grandpa’ chair and playing with those things which were stored right beside us in the roll top desk drawer.
    My children were very blessed to know two sets of grandies. They always enjoyed their time with them. Grandfather Nighswander is still going. He has outlived two son-in-laws and his son.

  5. This is what I hope for for my children. So far, so good! Adelle got only halfway way home from Markham before declaring that she missed Grammy and Grampy last time we went.

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