The joys of being a grandparent

My husband Jim and I will be married for 36 years this coming summer. Our three grown children are all married and have blessed us with nine grandchildren. God’s blessings in our married life together have been abundant.

Raising our children in the Catholic Church was very important to us as a couple, and now having the opportunity to be active in the faith life of our grandchildren is something we treasure. As grandparents we are able to “slow down and smell the roses.” It is wonderful to have more time to spend with the grandkids without having to worry about the daily routine of parenting responsibilities.

Spending one-on-one time on trips with our grandkids has become a tradition with Jim and me. The grandkids eagerly wait to see where grandma and grandpa are going this time and whose turn it is to come with us. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a day trip to the ND State Fair or Winter Show, a weekend wedding in Montana, or a whole week in Colorado visiting Uncle Jon and Aunt Heather, and their new cousin Elizabeth. These excursions are wonderful bonding opportunities, memory makers, and faith builders for all of us.

The expectations and planning of an upcoming road trip are fun to share with each other. I enjoy teaching my grandkids that being Catholic is a way of life, not just something we do on Sundays. There are many teachable moments as we travel together. We start the day with prayer, offering our day to God. If we will be in the vehicle for an extended period, there’s time to pray the rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet. It’s always interesting praying our meal blessing at a local restaurant. Planning our Sunday around finding a church and attending Mass is an important part of our journey. And of course, saying our prayers before we go to bed for the night.

Don’t get me wrong, everything isn’t perfect. There are always the reminders that we are in a vehicle with young children for a long time. What could go wrong? “He’s looking at me! She touched me! It’s my turn!” You get the drift. There are plenty of occasions to practice our grandparenting skills.

Another tradition I started with our grandkids that live next door is blessing them. Some mornings when their parents need to be to work early, I’ll watch them until the school bus comes. After everyone is ready with their backpacks and coats, we have time for morning prayer. They each pray for a special intention along with their morning prayers. Then I bless them with holy water and tell them that I love them and that Jesus loves them too. The grandkids seem to enjoy this as much as I do.

Sharing our Catholic faith with our grandchildren and being a part of their lives fill us with such joy! We pray that our influence will help our grandchildren grow closer to Jesus and have that personal relationship with him throughout their lives.

Sharon Eversvik is a grandmother and the Office Manager and DRE at St. John’s Church in New Rockford.