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Beacon Senior News

Zip-lining with the grandkids

Aug 23, 2021 03:00PM ● By Terri Kaiser
Person in red coat zip-lining through forest

The things grandparents will do for time and memories with teen-aged grandkids

My husband and I recently drove to North Carolina to visit the grandkids. If we’re lucky, we get to bask in their presence twice a year. Rarely is it more than that. 

But this year, it was different and sobering. They are growing up. And coronavirus didn’t help matters any. There are no guidebooks for grandparenting as children age. At least, I don’t know of any. 

It’s so easy when they’re younger. All it took was pulling out a storybook or the crayons, or popping popcorn and snuggling while watching a Disney movie. As they got a few years older, they enjoyed being pulled around behind the snowmobile or sledding at Wintergreen Hill. Then there were water parks and the zoo.

Gone are the days when the youngest, Lauren, and I cuddled up to sing songs at the top of our lungs, giggling at our mistakes. Gone are the days when our grandson, Jackson, climbed into my lap for a conversation or colored with crayons to create wondrous works of art. And gone are the days that Anna, the oldest, baked cookies with me or decorated gingerbread houses.

Or are they? Maybe not. I think I’m still reeling from the realization that time is certainly not standing still.

Terri and her husband Tom with their grandkids when they were younger. 

Jackson is taller than us now at 15. Anna recently got a car after victoriously earning her driver’s license. Lauren is blossoming into a beautiful, kind young lady (gosh, that makes me sound matronly, but it’s true). They are all growing up and time with the old folks doesn’t appeal like it once did. Well, to be fair, I think it still does, but too many other things get in the way these days.

Two years ago, we flew them up for the family campout in July. It was a time of togetherness around the campfire, paddle boarding and kayaking, competitive games of UNO and cornhole, swimming and lots of laughs. I think they enjoyed it as much as the entire family reveled in having them there.

On last year’s trip north, COVID and rain made it difficult. However, on the one nice day we had, we took them zip-lining. That was a hit! It also was a personal triumph for me, as I am famously averse to heights.

It’s funny what a person will do for time and shared memories with grandkids. I zipped from tree to tree, over deep crevices and lakes right behind them. It was exhilarating!

Our recent visit was eye-opening. They are developing their own lives. Anna is looking at colleges as she enters her senior year this fall. She has a boyfriend and a job now. Jackson is a popular football player with a busy social life and a girlfriend. Lauren, whom I call “my little sunshine,” had friends coming and going when she wasn’t out on her skateboard.

So, where does that leave us? I don’t know that we can top zip-lining. Past visits to the Carolinas have been spent with them in the mountains or at the beach. I’m not ready to concede that we won’t see those times again. It’s just going to be more challenging as we try to fit into their schedules.

I think the trick is to simply roll with it. I know they love us, and moments together may be harder to come by, but when they do, we will make the most of them. After all, watching them grow and flourish is such a gift.


Grandparents Day is September 12—make sure to celebrate the grandparents in your life!