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Tales from the Road – Part 3

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photoIt’s already December and it feels like the year just flew by.  I look back at all that happened and all that I planned to do and ask “how can the year be almost over”?  It seems like it was just summer and now we’re wearing our winter coats and turning on the heaters.

It’s times like this when I reflect on the year and all the wonderful things about it. One big change this year has been with my grandson, Dante.  He will turn four this month and as you can imagine, he’s changed a lot in the last 12 months.  I feel like it was just yesterday when he arrived in my life, and now he’s reciting his ABCs, starting to read and count, changing his own clothes and my goodness – having his own opinion!  When I think about the days and months following Dante’s arrival I’m so grateful that I was available to help my son and his wife through many of the changes that were happening in their life with a new little one.  And even now that Dante is a toddler I am still a part of his everyday life of learning.

peps logo As I look at his sweet face, I realize I’m excited to see the young man that he will become and it reminds me of one of our favorite partnerships – the PEPS organization.  PEPS stands for Program for Early Parent Support. They are a Seattle based nonprofit organization established to help parents connect and grow as they begin their journey into parenthood.

This past year, GET had the opportunity to be involved in PEPS’s new grandparent outreach program called “Grandparent Happy Hour.  As PEPS put it “grandparents are the third point in the parent, baby triangle and sometimes it can be tricky making the relationships work harmoniously.” Each happy hour event starts with a time of meeting, greeting and visiting with new grandparents and sharing stories and experiences. Then there is a lecture by Jan Faull, parent educator, author and Seattle Times columnist covering a variety of topics affecting grandparents today.  During the happy hour event in September I had the chance to sit with a group of grandparents that had grandchildren in other states.  They expressed their sadness in not being able to see their grandkids on a regular basis, but are thankful that they can stay connected with the use of Skype, cell phones and photos. They also shared with me their desire to help their adult children save for the grandchildren’s college education and asked how GET could help them do that.  One thing that stood out the most to them was that GET can be used at nearly every college, university and trade school in the US and even foreign countries.  One grandparent said after the discussion, that this helped them realize just how far reaching the gift of education can span.  I remember the smiles and relief they felt just knowing they could play a part in the education of these little people even though they were not able to be actively present every day.

Our partnership with PEPS, including the grandparent outreach has been an incredibly positive experience and I look forward to the new faces and new experiences in 2015. I’m also so excited to see what the new year has in store for Dante. It seems like every time I see him, he’s reaching a new milestone, and it fills me with such an amazing sense of awe and pride. He’s one of the greatest joys in my life, and I am so thankful to be his “Grammie.”

Written by Jacquelyne Ferrado

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