June 23, 2012
I welcome summer with outstretched arms as I welcome
visits from my
grandchildren now that school is out and the days are bright and
the lush foliage, colorful gardens and the warm sun creeping across
shoreline beaches. I share in observing the joyful, innocent smiles of
grandchildren as they delight in the small pleasures of summer
bikes and scooters, digging deep holes in the sand and building
fortresses of sand
at the shoreline only to be amused as the waves change or obliterate the
My daughter and I watched this week as my 6-year-old grandson and
old granddaughter made friends easily with another child while visiting
beach. My daughter remarked how easily children can make friends and why
couldn’t adults do the same. Introduce yourself and then just hop
the sand, she said, observing the actions of her daughter, Vivi. That’s
all it really
takes: an exchange of names and a hop in the sand and you’re friends for
at least until it’s time to drive home to New Jersey.
What more does a grandparent need than to observe the grandchildren
long colorful shovels and pails, the tools for executing the creative
plans of the
imagination. Grandparents have just a few roles at the beach: one is to
every little sand creation and the other is to respond to the frequent
sighs of “I’m
“You’re hungry? How can you be hungry; you just ate breakfast.”
Grandmothers and Nanas have a way of feigning a complaining response to
hungry.” I have come prepared with the cooler of watermelon,
blueberries, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese and crackers,
pretzels. The frequent chorus es of “I’m hungry” are followed by “Can we
Sponge Bobs all around.
Of course, there is the serious side of summer. This is adult concerns
will remember and abide by the rules their parents frequently dispense
sure their young children keep safe.
Last week, two of my grandsons, 6 and 7-year-old brothers were visiting.
decided to ride their scooters to the local park. My daughter
and I followed in the car to drive their grandfather. Upon arriving at
I parked the car and watched my grandson head down the street toward me.
Their mother had lagged behind and didn’t realize that the young boys
the scooters in the street and not, as they were told, on the sidewalk.
As the 6-
year-old came toward the park, he was on the opposite side of the street
needed to cross over. Fortunately before crossing, he looked over his
and just a few feet away, a car came ready to pass him. Zachary waited
for the car
to pass before he scooted across the street. I think my heart stopped as
what could have happened, if Zachary had not thought to look behind him
crossing the street, I noticed that the car did not show any signs of
slowing up as
it passed the child.
As much as we instill the importance of following safety rules with our
and grandchildren, especially during the summer, we, as adults, need to
extra precautions and anticipate the actions that young children can do
exuberance of summertime play. Look around you and observe how fast cars
drive down the street with children playing in the neighborhood. Look
cars are parked around ball fields and how easily it is for children to
between cars into the street to retrieve a ball or run or scoot to the
My 7-year-old grandson showed me his scrapped knees from riding down the
near his home. He told me he turned the wheel too sharply and fell of
I know scrapes and bumps are all part of growing up. I just hope that as
children embrace the warmth of summer and let their imaginations take
wonderful journeys that we adults take notice and show a little extra
for a safe summer.