“We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.” Gloria Steinem
My kids were blessed with amazing grandparents. All but my husband’s mom have passed (she is absolutely phenomenal at almost 93 years old). We miss them and my kids talk about them often. When I was cleaning the bookshelf in my office last week, I found a copy of a poem my oldest daughter wrote about seven years ago, three years after my mom left for heaven.
Every once in a while when I look down I see my Grandma’s hand
It makes me tear up with pride
Today these hands held my sick baby boy before the sun came up
They cleaned spilled cereal, bubbles, and a ‘tea party’
They picked out my daughter’s clothes and clapped as she put them on all by herself
These hands wrote emails, took phone calls, and worked
These hands made money
These hands pushed my kids on their swing set, gave baths, and made dinner
These hands aren’t well-manicured, they aren’t pretty, and they will never be my grandma’s; but for a moment I feel connected.
I choke up every time I read the poem, as much now as when she first shared it with me. But now, although I still miss Mom, it is also with deep gratitude that my children have the blessing of the generations. Mom taught my oldest to make buns and always asked my second about her boyfriends. My dad called my son, “a true little gentleman,” a moniker he has since grown into.
Many of the kids at the Ranch have disrupted families. Sometimes parents are in prison. One of our children has weathered the death of both parents and a loving aunt in the last seven months. Some are torn apart by addiction or domestic violence.
I am humbled by the grandparents who step into these kids' lives in any way they can. Some are at a stage of life where they can take on full responsibility for a child. Some can provide support to another family member who can parent. Some faithfully write letters.
I have seen too much to be a Pollyanna. Sometimes addiction, violence, trauma, and neglect are generational. Sometimes parents struggle because their own parents struggled.
But, sometimes, that love shines through across generations. When it does, it is a gift.
Please pray for our staff and children.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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