GRAND Magazine - April 2009 - (Page 32)

The breakfast club By Sally WendkoS oldS There’s time galore in an adolescent’s schedule: You just have to find it and make it yours. T he liTTle girl who bounded onto our lap and smothered us with kisses and the little boy who ran up with bear hugs now have other outlets for their affection (even if only in their minds). Adolescents have a lot on their plates: the demands of school, extracurricular activities and social life—and then there are MP3s, cells phones and other vital accoutrements of modern teen-and-tween life. Sometimes it feels like they don’t have time for us (and it’s true, they do have less time and inclination to talk to anyone they didn’t “friend” in Facebook). Take heart. There will always be a place in their lives for a loving, interested—interesting— and supportive grandmother. Especially if we fit in with the events that are important to them, like taking our 12-year-old granddaughter for her first bra fitting or bravely sitting in the “death seat” while our 15-year-old grandson practices his driving. And if we bite our tongue before saying anything to make them feel guilty for not calling or visiting as they did when they were 6! Marge, an artist in Evanston, Illinois, is lucky enough to live near nine of her 14 grandchildren. One way she sees them regularly is to take them out, one at a time, to breakfast before school—a practice she started when the oldest child was in fourth grade. It has continued through the high school years. “Although a few of the kids like to sleep in,” Marge says, “for most of them, this time before school seems to work best.” Marge picks up the “grandchild of the day” at 6:30 and keeps close watch over the time (“I never want to be responsible for anyone’s coming to school late!”). Over pancakes, she learns about the child’s life, interests, questions and problems. Often, the conversation begins with, “Grandma, what do you think about…” some item in the news. At 16, Jacob, who was seeking an ROTC scholarship to college, often discussed the war in Iraq. Ellen, 13, talked about her interests in fashion, clothes and dressmaking, and shared details with Marge about the latest styles. Marge often asks the children about the books they are reading in school. When Andrew, 12, said he was reading There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz, a story about growing up in subsidized housing projects, he wanted to talk about the differences between the lives of the children in the book and his own life in an affluent suburb . The success of the breakfasts is evident: The children often call Marge to remind her that it’s pancake time again, and they stay vigilant about whose turn it is to go next. G 32 GRAND APRIL 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - April 2009

GRAND Magazine - April 2009
GRAND Central
Editor's Podcast
Lettuce Love You
Bewitched, Betwixt and Tween
Ask Grand: The Toxic Mom
The Breakfast Club
Sibling Boosters
Will They Be Misfits?
A Return to Elegance
What Makes Us Sick? A Quiz
GRAND Finale

GRAND Magazine - April 2009