The Importance of Being Silly


It’s one of my favourite photos of my mom. She’s draped from head to toe in almost every item from my kids’ dress-up box: a silly hat, crazy cape, rhinestone-studded cowboy vest, sparkly beads and a feather boa. Her eyes are wide, like she’s just stepped on a mouse, and her head is cocked to one side. My four-year-old son, Kohl, is standing next to her, wearing the few remaining dress-ups and a similar expression, both of them caught in a moment of pure joy and delight. I remember when the photo was taken, how as soon as the shutter clicked, they erupted into giggles and laughter and then fell into a heap on the floor, gleeful and happy to be each other’s partner in crime. They shared something that only a grandparent and grandchild can share: a sense of silliness and fun unmatched by even their parents.

Never a disciplinarian when she raised her own three children, my mom was even less so as a grandparent. She believed in letting kids be kids, and—as often as possible—letting grandparents be kids right along with them. She never missed an opportunity to play with her grandkids or to be silly. She’d pull funny faces that would rival their own, she’d sing aloud with them, she’d compete whole-heartedly in any watermelon-seed-spitting contests, and she’d skip hand-in-hand with them down city streets.

One of the best parts about being a grandparent, if you ask me, is having the time that isn’t always available when you’re raising your own children to enjoy and have fun with your grandkids. Twice the fun without any of the worrying. Or half of it, anyway.

We aren’t raising the future of our country—well, some of us are—we’re cheering it on.

It has been said that having grandchildren is the great reward for enduring the indignities of aging. And, I would add, it is as good a reason as any to be undignified and perhaps a little over-the-top.

“And so we find that aging really does come with benefits,” writes Vikki Claflin for Scary Mommy. “We get grandchildren to love…without the constant worry we had as parents that everything we say or do will somehow scar them for life. We’ve learned to relax, knowing that somehow, with or without our inept fumbling, they will turn out to be pretty terrific adults.”

To that end, we hope this issue of Island Grandparent helps you enjoy your time with your grandchildren. You’ll find articles on everything from the empowering our granddaughters, the magic of rainbows, and the importance of sharing our stories with our grandchildren, to sleepovers, helping kids develop a sense of place, and 10 things to do on the Island with the grandkids.

Just like the time you spend with your grandchildren, we hope you enjoy every minute—and every page—of Island Grandparent.