- Family and Parenting
Are You Part of the Golden Generation?
Grandparents are Great!
Everyone has their different views as to what constitutes: ‘the Golden Years’. To me, as a fifty-one-year-old grandmother, they are those years of middle age that enable you to span the generations of your family and relate to them all. There doesn’t have to be a generation gap when there's someone like you to close it.
These are the years when you're neither young nor old. You can easily summon the energy to play the big kid with your grandchildren at the kiddie’s playground and have the organisation skills to take on the added responsibility and care of ageing parents at the same time.
When you're middle-aged you can be useful to family members who are both younger and older; you not only possess the power to bridge the generation gap but you become the literal bridge that links the generations of your family together.
At this point in my life, I can say I'm caring for four generations on a daily basis. Not only does this give me a valuable insight into the demands of each particular age group but it endows me with some sense of purpose. They all need me; I shop for them, listen to their opinions requests and complaints and deal with their particular demands and needs from age one to ninety-three. People all need attention whatever their age and above all, they need someone to listen.
I can be bathing my toddler grandson and a few hours later will be washing my elderly mother’s hair while listening to her stories of wartime Britain. I feel privileged to be able to do this as fortunately, we all live on the same bus route. Many modern families divided by continents are unable to do this on any regular basis.
My year old grandson will sit in his pushchair contentedly in the presence of his great grandma and she's thankful that I have brought him to see her; this new little person she never expected to live long enough to even know. She recites the nursery rhymes of her own childhood as fresh in her mind as if it was yesterday that she learned them.
There's a painting hanging on the wall of my study entitled ‘Youth and Age’ by an artist called J MC Whirter MA (someone please tell me if it's worth something!) It’s not a particularly colourful piece but it depicts a young sapling growing side by side with a much older tree and in this there's a lesson to be learned. Each generation can gain something from another and be happy to experience and share precious moments together.
My shopping basket consists of everything from nappies to denture tablets and is laden down with items for everyone. If I have no room for what is on my own list, it'll wait until tomorrow
I’m expected to recall a vast wealth of knowledge on every aspect of childcare and baby care when my daughter asks me for advice and also be on hand when my ninety three-year-old mother is inquisitive about the intricate workings of mobile phones and the internet.
Because these ‘golden years’ are full of purpose and my presence is perhaps appreciated by others far more than at any other point in my life, I feel at peace with the world. I don't worry too much about the onset of old age because you I’m busy and I don’t pine for my youth because I'm content with my life as it is now. So these are ‘the Golden Years’ for me. The golden years of middle age can be truly golden for everyone whatever their personal experience of life. Use middle age as a vital link between the generations of your family and they may prove to be the most rewarding and fulfilling of your entire life.
The multi-Generational Family
Three good principles in life:
Look after your children and your grandchildren because they are your future,
Look after your parents because they are your past,
Look after yourself because you are the present.— Stella Kaye
In Celebration of Middle Age!
Some Cross-Generational Banter in 2014 with my Eldest Grandson Who's Fifty Years Younger than Me:
I’m in Asda’s cafe with my two grandsons aged nearly six and four while their mum goes in search of Halloween costumes. I’m just sitting there drinking my decaf when my eldest grandson starts philosophising (I think he takes after me a bit) He’s talking about my ninety seven-year-old mum and says he wonders what he’ll be like when he’s an old lady.
‘Well, you’ll never be an old lady that’s for sure - unless I get my scissors out,’ I joke.
‘Oh yes, that’s right... I’ve got a willy haven’t I!’ he laughs.
‘Why did God make some people with willies and some without them?’ he asks.
I splutter on my coffee as was not expecting a ‘birds and the bees’ discussion in Asda of all places. My other grandson remains silent throughout and is happily munching through the contents of his kids’ snack meal in a box, without any need for intelligent conversation.
‘You’d better ask your mum,’ I reply, taking the safe route as I wasn’t altogether sure she’d explained things of that nature in any great depth.
‘I reckon maybe God was very clever making girls’ and boys’ bodies a bit different as it was a good way to get more people,’ was all I could manage without going into ‘too much information’ mode.
Our conversation then went on to discussing more imminent things like trick-or-treating and bonfire night. Kids always seem to surprise adults with how much they actually realise about ‘life the universe and everything’ just by assessing the world around them and my grandson has always been extremely good at this by being mature in his attitude. He’s a keen observer and absorbs information like a sponge. I’ve travelled abroad with him many times and know I can enjoy a meaningful conversation with him on a vast range of diverse subjects on a fairly profound level. I feel this cross generational banter is an excellent learning process for both of us.
‘I’m very clever grandma, I know everything don’t I?’ he says, fishing for compliments a bit.
‘No one ever knows everything and you’re never too old to learn something new,’ I tell him.
‘What - even when you’re as old as great grandma?’ He says, wide-eyed.
‘Not even when you’re a hundred - you can still learn something new and useful every single day of your life.’
He likes a good disaster movie (I think he’s got that from me too) because then he mentions the end of the world. ‘I might not live until I’m a hundred; I could die if the world ends before then,’ he says.
‘I guess everyone else would too, ‘I reply, ‘so don’t worry about it too much and make the most of it while you're here...whatever your age'.
'Youth and Age'
Look up at the sun and smile - the sun is middle aged too, but still shines as bright as it did when it was younger— Stella Kaye
Bridging the Generation Gap
A Little Middle-Aged Madness!
Are You proud to be part of the golden generation?
© 2015 Stella Kaye