I took my granddaughter, Ava, to watch the sunset

where the ocean meets the land

And I remember being mesmerized by our shadows on the sand.


At first our shadows walked beside us…two shadows blending into one

but they separated and walked behind us as we turned our faces to the sun.


And as we watched the sun drift slowly down and a cool breeze chilled our skin

I had to smile at our shadows snow standing tall and thin.


When the sun was finally tucked in marking the end of another day

I turned around and noticed how our shadows had faded away.


And it got me thinking about shadows..of how the dark and light interchange

of how tentative is our existence and how quickly life can change


And I wondered where do shadows go?

Do they too need their sleep at night 

if they are going to have the energy to join us at first light. 


And how a shadow is like a good friend who will walk with us…

yet we’re aware

even the times we cannot see them we know that they are there.


And I thought how grandparents are kind of like a shadow

with each granddaughter and grandson

and how we will always be behind them

when they turn their faces to the sun.


How we will always walk beside them

with our support, our love and care

and even when they cannot see us they will know that we are there.


And that they should never worry

if they happen to be mired in the night…

for whenever they need our shadow…


we will gladly bring the light.

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From the moment we became grandparents we have felt conflicted

at the way, in books and media, grandparents are depicted.


But we’ve been grandparents for a while now 

(one grandchild just graduated college)

So we believe it is time to share some grand-parental knowledge…


When a cartoonist draws a grandma her hair is invariably in a bun

If she’s not wearing a sweater…chances are she’s knitting one.


When she walks it’s with a cane and we will forever take offense

how she’s always wearing glasses and has no fashion sense


When a cartoonist draws a grandpa he is never very tall

His hair is a vibrant shade of gray or white…if he has any hair at all.


His plaid pants never match his shirt…his glasses are as thick as a window pane

He could be in a wheel chair or like Grandma…walking with a cane.


If you look around at grandparents today, you’ll find us agile and nimble and spry

In fact you’ll discover to your amazement those old stereotypes don’t apply. 


Deborah doesn’t wear a muumuu…her hair is never in a bun,

If you ask our grandchildren what they think, they’ll say their Nana’s fun. 


She’s creative, she’s compassionate, she’s patient and I can verify

She’s great with babies, loves to bake and sings a soothing lullaby.


As for me, though I am a little bald, I don’t wear plaid pants, never would.

snd if I do say so myself, I make the clothes I wear look good.


I do not fish, don’t watch much TV, I don’t read the Farmer’s Almanac

When my grandchildren ask to play football…guess who’s the quarterback?


Deborah and I will try jumping rope, playing soccer and climbing trees too

because in this day and age, in our generation, that’s what grandparents do!


We are a mix of old and new, we are much cooler and hipper than before

(Even though I’m pretty sure people don’t say cooler or hipper anymore!) 


We embrace some of the traits of our grandparents, yes the good ones have survived

but speaking for Deborah and the grandparents I know, a new generation has arrived!


So cartoonists when you draw Deborah draw her with style, grace and fun

And if you’re drawing her baking cupcakes, make sure they’re funky ones.


And when you take your pencils out don’t draw me in a rocking chair

Instead…draw me climbing up a tree or in a top hat 

and if you want…


you can add more hair.

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When our children are born we await all their milestones keeping an eye on their developmental clock

We don’t want to miss the first time they crawl, the first time they walk or they talk.


As they grow we’re amazed at how quickly they arrive at each new milestone

from riding a bike, heading off to school to driving a car of their own.


And we are thankful to witness each milestone…to be a part of that magical day

and glad as parents we have been blessed to be there every step of the way.


And sometimes our children have children…and as grandparents we still find a way

to experience some of their milestones…even if we’re not there every day.


Our youngest granddaughter was baptized in the ocean today… it was a wonderful sight to behold

and we felt blessed as grandparents to be there…watching another milestone unfold.


And it got us thinking about milestones…and it filled our hearts with pride

knowing when it comes to our family…we’ve been there…enjoying the ride.


We have reached many milestones in our own lives…and now watching our grandchildren grow…

it’s time for us to sit back…relax…and happily bask in their glow…


So as we watched today’s baptism conclude…in the sea neath a cerulean sky


We hope when the next milestone is reached…you’ll see the two of us standing close by.

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When we were younger…we prided ourselves in being what we would call hip!

We were hip by our music, by how we danced, even the clothes that we wore.

and as grandma’s and grandpas we still think we’re hip

but we’re told no-one uses that term anymore….


Back then when it came time to watch the Grammys

we knew the words to every song…

we watched as the performers did their singing and dancing

and we danced 

and we sang along…


But as the years have slipped away from us

though we still have our musical hunger

it seems the people doing the singing 

have gotten younger

and younger 

and younger.


So now when it’s time to watch the Grammys

we don’t always feel we belong…

We often can’t understand what it is they are singing

which makes it impossible to sing along.


And if we try to dance like they dance

we don’t feel like hipsters…at all.

In fact the only hip we are feeling

Is the one that we bruise…when we fall!


So now we sit back and relax watching the Grammys

they still put on a wonderful show

and we listen and try as old hipsters

to pick up and use their argot…


So this year we were dope with the clothes they wore on that stage

and dope with the songs that were sung…

though we’re pretty sure dope doesn’t mean the same thing


as it did back when we hipsters were young.

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Why do grandchildren love visits from their grandparents?

It’s not just the cookies or the presents they might bring.

It’s how the love they share brings comfort to their souls

and allows their hearts to sing…


And why do grandparents love visiting their grandchildren?

Because their souls, too, are comforted…

their love songs, too, are sung…

and because

even though they may feel older…


their grandchildren keep them young. 


Over the weekend our two youngest grandchildren came to our house to stay

(the two older ones no longer live at home and their parents were away).


We laughed, we ate, we walked, we danced

they played on our computer in between

and we noticed, after we returned them home,

they’d left their fingerprints on its screen.


And when we saw their fingerprints we sighed

thinking how the moments they now stay with us are few…

how they’ve grown up so quickly…

Wasn’t it only yesterday when they were 2?


With the two older grandchildren off at college

and the the two youngest growing fast

we try our best, when we get together,

to make each moment last…


Their lives now take them in different directions 

to different places…new routines

and we wait patiently with net in hand…

to capture moments in between…


Which is why we have decided to preserve 

this latest moment in between…

to make it last a little longer…


and keep their fingerprints on our screen.


The day I was born I noticed it…

how you sheltered me from harm…

Why, I even fell asleep…

in the comfort of your arms…


For when you put your arms around me and hugged me to her chest.

I felt warm…I felt love…I felt safe, 

I felt secure…and blessed.


Blessed to be with someone whom I already know

will make me feel this way…wherever I may go…


Blessed to know wherever I may go in life…your arms will always reach me

Blessed to know you, Grandma,…have so much you will teach me.


You’ll teach me about love and kindness…compassion…and integrity

You’ll teach me about strength and beauty…and generosity…


For you know the secret of Grandmahood 

(and perhaps to life as well)…

A secret all you Grandmas know but often do not tell…


I’m not sure where you learned it

How it became the Grandma’s creeds…

To always give more than you can give…

and take less than you may need.


But means whenever we’re together

love will fill the air

and every time I climb into my your arms…


I’ll find some comfort there.


People say Grandpa and I are a lot alike in how we look and what we do

and sitting here with Grandpa…I guess that’s kinda true.


I mean we both like fancy clothes…and dressing with some flair…

and quiet moments when we walk…in nothing but our underwear.


We both have bald spots on our heads, 

but here’s something to think about

not all my hair has grown in yet

while most of his is out.


We both make funny faces and our tummies are soft and round.
and sometimes for no apparent reason our bodies make odd sounds,


We both love to play.

We both love to drink…and eat

And both of us, at times, are a little unsteady on our feet.


We both love to read books

despite the discrepancy in our ages

In truth…Grandpa does all the reading

but I like listening and turning pages. 


We both smile when we see each other…

Moms say it’s because we share a heart

and when it’s time to say goodbye

we’re both sad we have to part…


But you know…the more I think about it…

I have to disagree

I don’t think I’m at all like Grandpa


But he sure is a lot like me.

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Grandparents know their grandchildren make life more interesting.

How they add beauty and laughter…

how they enhance…

But what do you do when your grandchildren ask…

“Hey PopPop do you wanna dance?”


You immediately weigh out your options.

It’s not pretty when you shimmy and shake.

You think of your poor aging muscles…

and all of the parts you might injure or break.


You’re not as limber or athletic as you once were.

Who are you kidding! 

You were seldom limber and never athletic!

Then you look at your grandchildren and ask yourself,

Do I risk looking awkward and pathetic?


You never danced much when you were younger

not even at sock hops while you were in school

and with your grandchildren patiently waiting…

do you risk looking, now, like a fool?


Then you think of your grandchildren and you marvel

at how fast they are growing each day

and you think…life is made up of moments like this

and decide not to let this one slip away…


So you smile and you take a deep cleansing breath…

determined not to to miss out on this chance…

you find a place between your two grandchildren

and when the music starts…

you start…

to dance



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