gmhTODAY 04 gmhToday Sep Oct 2015 - Page 87

ents share stories of their own childhoods and the lessons they have learned, they pass this unique wisdom to their grandchildren. Their grandkids learn the value of maturity and stability, which they will carry with them into adulthood. Sharing stories of the past also helps chil- dren learn about their family history. When children hear tales about relatives, special events, and family traditions they under- stand their place within the family. They learn the importance of their heritage and culture, which helps to shape a part of their self-identity. Children come to see their grandparents as the “glue” that holds their family together and they develop a positive image of aging. Grandparents come with a variety of personalities and grandparenting styles, all of them valuable in their own way. Just look at these local grandparents and their unique bond with their grandchildren: Teri Freedman • Gilroy My husband, Rich Freedman, and I have lived in Gilroy since 1979. We are pretty typical Baby Boomer parents and grandpar- ents, because ours is a “blended” family of five children and ten grandchildren. Each of us had a child when we married 39 years ago, and we have three together.  Similarly, those five children have given us ten grand- children aged five months to 17 years. Biologically, four of our grandchildren are “mine”; two grandchildren are “his”, three are “ours,” and one is a gift from the next generation›s blended family — but all ten are ours. Confusing? It doesn’t seem to bother any of the children, because we are, quite simply, their grandparents. There is no dif- ferentiation, either from their perspective or from ours. Because two live in Oregon, four live in Pennsylvania, three now live in the Fresno area, and one lives in Gilroy, the kids have been known to “keep score” of time and activities with us. If we visit one, the rest expect equal attention.  Some of them squabble over who gets to sit in Papa’s chair, and they have even posted signs on it. When one preschooler got to travel to San Diego with NeNe, an older child served notice that she expected a trip, also. When we could, we provided granny daycare for some of the local ones for a couple of years. Grandparent bliss is a lapful of babies after breakfast. All of this is very different from Rich’s and my experience as children, where each of us lost some of our grandparents before we were old enough to know or remember them. The surviving grandparents were not as active as we are. Our five kids were fortu- nate to have complete “sets” of grandparents (who took them on trips and made many special memories), and we look forward to a long time of enjoying our grandchildren, too. Sherry Hemingway • Morgan Hill The “11-Year-Old Grandchild Trip” is a tradition which we have so far accomplished with seven of our nine