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No Language Required

Posted by Patience on August 27, 2010 at 7:00 AM in Bicultural Families
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no language required

His English is all but gone, just a few words here and there. He isn't sure how it happened exactly, but said he just can't remember anymore. Maybe it was his retirement this year, or no daily practice. But for whatever the reason, he is returning to where he started; the language that is closest to his heart.

As I try to jog my own mind and revive my Spanish, I wonder exactly how I am going to do the two week long visit. I pretend we are in an exotic land on a sort of linguistic adventure, even though it is just my kitchen. While I fumble through, my daughter seems to have no problem at all.

He sits beside her, and she brings him her beloved red boots. She climbs on his lap as if she's done it a million times before even though this is only the second time she has ever seen him in her short little life. He gently slides each foot in, and she wiggles off, and then holds out her hand.

She leads him by his first finger all over the backyard for close to an hour. She stops. He stops. She picks up a rock or picks a forbidden flower, and he smiles so patiently like any abuelo would. When he tries to sit, she pulls him up, and he laughs, in total servanthood to the power of her cuteness. Her insistence mixed with a deep instant connection; there is no language required. Love is the only necessity, and they both have truck loads of that.

I am in awe of the way they seem to know each other, with no words, no history. There is some kind of old generational love, a knowing that this person knew you before you were ever born. It is unconditional, given so freely, so pure. I wonder how we lose this part of ourselves and maybe find it again as we age. The place and time where everything becomes so simple, everything peeled back, all that really matters remains.

While I sit from my kitchen table and watch them, I am overwhelmed by the power of love. How far and wide it can travel, how nothing can stand in its way, even when there are no words.

Do your children have a special connection with their grandparents? Do you do something to cultivate it or is it just there? Do share your favorite grandparent stories in the comments section today. We would love to read them.


Kathryn writes...

What a beautiful post, it brought tears to my eyes. I don't have children and my own grandparents are now gone but I have many fond memories of my time spend with them as a child.

Nicole writes...

I love the picture of Lucy and her grandfather!

nancy writes...

Grandparents are awesome. I discovered this fact with my own grandparents and now that I have children it is even more true that grandparents are awesome. I love having my parents and my husbands parents interact with our children. I know our children will learn so much from them.

Jean writes...

Absolutely beautiful!!!

Kate writes...

My son met my father for only the 3rd time is his 1 1/2 years of life this summer. He ran right to him, and wouldn't leave his side for the entire week. We had gone to visit, and the house was full of people. I don't know how he knew which one to pick, but it seems he did. Every waking second, all week long, if my father was in sight no one else would do for my son. We had to pry him out of my father's arms every morning so he could do his insulin shot.

All in all it was pretty sweet. My son is his first grandson, his first grandchild. I think it was special for my father to be the favorite all week. The one person my son couldn't live without. Every time I would go check they would be in the kitchen eating fruit, or outside waving to airplanes, going on walks, and sometimes picking out music. My husband or I could come and go and my son didn't see to notice, but my father was a necessity.

Renee writes...

Love this story about the baby and her grandfather...Just goes to show you, you don't need to speak, the love shows through the eyes....

Lorrie writes...

My grandfather started loosing his English the year I was three. He had plenty of other grandkids around all the time but I happened to be the one the right age that summer. As he reverted to his native German more and more, I could understand everything he said. And he could understand me. I'm sure we were very in tune with each others body language and tone of voice, and we had all the time in the world to concentrate on each other while everyone else had stuff to do. Dad used to tell people, "He doesn't remember English, and she doesn't know German, But they understand each other's Dutch."

Rhonda writes...

What an absolutely divine story! And those red boots are kickin'! ;-> I'm divorced from the father of my three daughters, and he has basically vacated their lives, emotionally and physically. However, his mother and stepfather have been so incredibly supportive. She was always a wonderful mother-in-law and grandmother before the divorce; she has continued to be so solid, loving and devoted to my daughters and is supportive of me as their mother. That's the most I would have asked for, and I get it, overflowingly. Grandparents rock!

Susan writes...

Our children (one born in Japan, two in Oregon, USA) have grandparents in the States and in Japan. They have spent a good amount of time with those in Japan, and although their Japanese is not as good as thier English and the Gparents do not speak English, they have always been very close. Blood counts for so much. The kids see their US Gparents every month...sometimes more...and have a strong bond there as well. Asked to help a Gparent with anything, or even not asked... if they see a need, they jump to work. We are blessed on all counts. Actual words do not seem to be the language they always use.

jamie writes...

Josie and her grand-dad are buds....each night before dinner she chases the door to go on a walk with GD and the dog buddy.....then they sink into the couch for some early evening time...with Dora and Diego's
punted volume you'll find Josie lying upon grand dad 60's size belly the most comfortable type of pillow you'll find as a 2.5 year old....

Thanks Grand-dad and Granny for being here so often without any question...upon drinking the grand-parent kool-aid you did well and we love you....

Blanca writes...

My daughter Sammy and my father (aka Papi) are super close. My daughter adores him. He is an animal lover and he has inspired her to pursue in a career where animals are the main characters. She spends all her time with him when we go visit. She struggles with her spanish, but when she is with him, that is all she will speak...even if she makes up new spanglish words....but they undersatnd each other no matter what. They both laugh at each other and with one another. They are best of friends. Its wonderful to see how now my own daughter spend time with my Father just like I once did.

Anna writes...

My eldest child met his grandmother exactly once, at about age 5. We only visited for about half an hour, as that was all that everyone could cope with, but within minutes of arriving he was attached to her like he was never going to let go - like he knew he was never going to get another chance. So yes, I think that there is some connection there.

TT writes...

They shared a room and called it stuff. My daughter at age 11 had Grama move in to her room but really she took a place in her heart.Each day brought them closer and the notice of stuff that took over. We have no room i would hear but it's okay my daughter would say i'll just move something over. The loved to watch Jeopardy or wheel of forture but really it was the time side by side on the reclining love seat. When we took Grama back to her home we may have gained some space but our hearts felt empty and need her in it's place. We are grateful for the time we had and will charish the ups and the downs that is how our humanness feels grounded.

Lindsay writes...

My son (16 months) has a complete meltdown if my father leaves a room. They are best friends and it melts my heart to watch them play.

My grandfather is 94 and on his death bed. In the last few weeks he's been unable to recognize any of his children or grandchildren in photos or in person. He still knows my son and asks for "Mr. Carter" every day.

I was always close to my grandparents but didn't realize that the bond started the moment I was born.

On my father's side, my abuelos only spoke Spanish and we had no problem communicating when we were kids. As we got older, they continued to speak in Spanish to me and I spoke to them in English - it worked. I'm uncomfortable speaking Spanish and they're uncomfortable speaking English - although we all understand the other language and can speak when necessary. There's so much more to communication than words!

Becky writes...

that is so beautiful - I love the picture, priceless!

H to the Izzo writes...

This brought tears to my eyes as well. I was very close to my grandma, who died last year. It's so amazing the generational skip that causes such a unique and important relationship. I often felt my grandma knew me better than my mother. I don't have children and am not sure I will ever want to. It makes me a little sad that if I don't have kids, I'll never know the feeling of introducing someone (or me) to the amazing grandparent bond.

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