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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grandpa, Grandma and Me Time

Typically, I leave the writing about children's and young adult programming to the experts in our Youth Services department. However, new Head of Adult Services Stephanie Spetter caught me in the lunchroom yesterday and said, "Help - we need more promotion of our 'Grandpa, Grandma and Me Time' program!" I was happy to oblige with a photo and blurb on our home page. But it got me thinking about how important "Grandpa and Me" time was in my life.

The youngest of four children in a happy, noisy, busy household, I often tell people I was blessed to grow up with three parents: mom, dad and grandfather, or, "Papa." My grandmother the year before I was born and suddenly Papa was on his own, despite being a relatively young man in good health. So he came over for dinner a lot - even took us out to restaurants several nights a week. He told me much later in life that when he lost Irene, the love of his life, I became his new reason for getting up in the morning. Spoiled rotten? Yes, I was, thank you very much! Wherever I wanted to go, he was there, chauffeuring me in his enormous Buick, puffing on a stogie. Kiddieland or Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom? Check. Oakbrook, Yorktown, North Riverside or Hillside mall? Check. A walk in the park, an ice cream cone, a magazine from the drug store. Oh, and, yes - we often went to bookstores and our local public library. He patiently sat while I browsed the shelves forever, leaving with an armful of books and maybe some records. Life was simple and life was great. I lost my Papa 19 years ago, when he was in his late 80s, and I miss him all the time.

Another thing my whole family enjoyed was playing games together. Candy Land and Cootie when we were very small, Monopoly and Life as we got older, lazy evenings on vacation in Wisconsin playing cards or even impromptu games we created on the spot.I don't have children of my own but I enjoy when my friends and their kids include me in a game. Last year I bought my parents a new laptop computer and we had a lot of laughs playing "Wheel of Fortune" on it - so you're never too old to play together as a family!

If all of this has made you nostalgic for simpler times or restless to get some of that quality time for you and your family, you can get started this Saturday at DPPL. On Saturday, November 13, 2010, we have two special events taking place. First, from 10:30 - Noon, it's "Grandpa, Grandma and Me Time." Children from ages 4-8 can bring a favorite grandparent (or multiple favorites) and enjoy some special time together. There will be stories, fun and refreshments. Everyone gets their picture taken and the kids will create a photo memory craft to remember the day. As someone who fondly treasures those memories of time spent with my generous and kind grandfather, I can say with confidence that building relationships between the generations in your family is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Register here.

Then, from 1-4 PM, get your game on @ the library - it's National Gaming Day! Drop in and try your hand at Wii Bowling, Mario Kart or good, old-fashioned board games like Sorry! Read more about the positive effects of gaming and our National Gaming Day celebration in Cheryl Gladfelter's Kidding Around post.

Remember, though, that the library is here for you 7 days a week almost every day of the year, so it's always the perfect day for mom, dad, kids, grandparents - whoever you are - to come over and spend some quality time together. We noted with both sorrow and pride how often Choice Taylor came to the library after school with his twin brother, Chance. Choice lost his life in an unfortunate accident last week but it lifts our spirits a bit to know we gave the boys a safe place to spend their free time. Life is too short - spend it with the people you love doing things that help you grow together.

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