Terry Nakawatase is a Keiro volunteer for The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro’s Memory Kai memory enhancement program. Below, Terry shares her thoughts on great activities to do with grandchildren this summer.
Being a grandmother, or Obachan, is the joy of my life! I only wish it were possible to spend more time in that role! Who changed me from just a senior to a grandma? The “girls!”
I have only two grandchildren, both girls. One lives in Oak Park, just over the line – in Ventura County with her mother, Lisa (our daughter) and father, Marc (our wonderful son-in-law). She is 10 years old, having turned that awesome age in January, 2011. Jessica is her name, or Jessie when I’m moved to shorten it for some non-calculated reason. My husband Roy, (Ojichan, my partner in grandparent-ship) and I are sure she is a genius in some category.
She excels at school, not just in academics, but also in being a friend, and in leadership. But, perhaps where she obviously shines, at least for us, is in dance, which she has done since she was 3 years old! She has had rhythm and twinkle toes as long as we can remember. Now, at a mature 10, she trips the lights fantastic with her dance studio mini-company… delighting not only us, but relatives, friends and people she doesn’t even know! Oh, if only you could see her! (Please forgive our obvious pride!)
Until she was 10, we had many opportunities to baby-sit her – usually at their home. We would have a wonderful time playing with Jessie and their two dogs, a Golden Retriever, Bailey, and a German Shepherd mix, Sydney. We would improvise games, and one of her favorite things was to “walk up” her Ojichan’s belly! Such hilarity each time! We’ve made it a point to try to attend any school-related activity, swim team events, soccer games when she was the tiniest, and of course, family get-togethers.
Our other ‘wonder-child” is Haley, our son Scott’s daughter, who is 11 years old. They reside in Honolulu, Hawaii… and she is a gem too! She is the sweetest child… and quite beautiful (Obachan talking!) Her prime activity besides school where she excels as well, is playing basketball with her team with whom she’s played for several years. She enjoys activities and friendships with school classmates and playmates dating from pre-school days… so friendships endure there. We visit for her birthday in April each year and again in the fall, so that we can be a part of her life and be with her as much as possible in spite of the distance. We usually stay in our timeshare so that Haley is able to stay with us much of the time. We take her to school, and pick her up after; go to get her a snack, drive her to her basketball practice which she has 3 times a week, and attend the frequent weekend league games to cheer Haley and her team! She is getting quite good, and watching her play and rooting her on is a big thrill!! She has hula classes on Saturdays or Sundays. What a treat to watch her hula. She has a natural knack and feel for the dance, perhaps because she is 1/4 Hawaiian. She loves to help me cook, arrange fancy salads of fruits or vegetables, set the table, and makes things look special on the nights she spends with us. Haley pretends she is a waitress, takes our orders, and we turn into an island restaurant.
When Scott and Haley come to visit, one thing we all love to do together is go out to eat, be it a snack (a malasada in Hawaii, or yogurt or ice cream either place), ramen, pizza, Ruby’s (or a barbeque feast here) or a “dress-up fancy” place… we love food! Manicures and pedicures are great, too. Oh, and the Wii game
that’s so much fun – where 3 of you get up and try to mimic music and dancing on the video for points! A mishmash of pleasures!
And did I mention they both inherited Obachan’s love of making art? Sketching, painting, etc. When Haley visits, she and Jessica have a wonderful time together and our pleasures are doubled!
To this doting grandma, whether summer or fall… or any time… life with Haley & Jessica is fulfilling!!
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