My grandchildren are one of the great joys of my life, and this summer was an especially fun one. I spent more time at the beach than in past years and enjoyed watching them play in the surf or building sand castles. There's great freedom for kids at the beach and their joy there is infectious.
The great thing about being a grandparent is that you really get to sit back and enjoy each stage of childhood. Without all the stress that goes along with child rearing, you can simply sit on the sidelines and watch. In my case I have them from the ages of 15 all the way down to age 3 so there's a great range of all things to enjoy.
I remember back to when my oldest went off the college. It was a sobering year for us, realizing we had one that was ready to leave the nest and knowing we weren't ready to let her go. Also realizing that we were getting along in years and time was passing us by too quickly. I was happy to have an eight-year-old still at home because we could go from watching a college concert, to a high school show, to a middle school event, and finally to an elementary school activity. And getting to go back to the elementary school made me feel as though perhaps I wasn't quite done with parenthood yet, and I liked that. Because being a parent was what I enjoyed most about life.
Sadly those years are past for me now, but watching the grand kids grow beings back so many memories and and seeing their joy in the simple things helps keep me focused on the things that are important in life. I hope to be around long enough to see a great-grandchild or two, and be able to start the cycle all over again.