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Life’s greatest gift

Time spent with grandchildren delights grandparents

Created date

November 20th, 2012

Rather than brave the snaking lines of heavy traffic en route to crowded malls, community members at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va., choose to give those closest to their hearts their grandchildren the greatest gift this holiday season: the gift of themselves. It s wonderful being a grandmother at Ashby Ponds, says community member Alice Buck, who has ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, all of whom have visited her at Ashby Ponds. Since moving to Ashby Ponds, I ve enjoyed the opportunity to spend hours with my grandchildren talking and sharing their lives, she says. They often visit for a meal, to listen to me sing in a Snowbirds concert, or to attend a fun event. Fun events are an important part of life at Ashby Ponds. Recognizing the importance of family time, the staff at Ashby Ponds continually looks for new ways to bring family members together.

Casting their lines

In honor of Grandparent s Day, Ashby Ponds recently held a grandparents picnic and fishing tournament. Thirty grandchildren and children of residents and staff participated in the tournament and 20 other grandchildren came to simply enjoy time together. Residents Nancy and Grant Haggquist s nine-year-old granddaughter Jessica and her eleven-year-old brother Jack attended the day s activities. Our grandchildren attend most of the kid-friendly events, says Nancy. At the recent fishing derby, our granddaughter Jessica didn t catch anything, but she enjoyed the hotdogs and persisted in casting even after the biggest fish was caught. She s now looking forward to the upcoming holiday cake walk. A series of awards presented to the most enthusiastic and most perseverant child added to the day s excitement. The day s biggest winner was Samantha Lowe, granddaughter of Terry and Kate Lowe, who also live at Ashby Ponds. She received awards for the most fish caught (three), the largest fish caught (22 ), and the overall most inches of fish award (58 ). It was just lots of fun seeing the fishing activities, says Kate. When a fish was caught, the catcher was delighted. And Ashby Ponds made sure no one went home empty-handed. Each participant received a good sport award. It was a gorgeous day with residents and staff sharing time together, enjoying the fresh air, and experiencing the joy of watching kids play outside, says Ashby Ponds Director of Continuing Care Amy Grossman.

Simple joys

In addition to the numerous family-friendly events at Ashby Ponds, the community s grandparents most often enjoy sharing the simple pleasures of life with their grandchildren. My grandchildren are truly a blessing to me and have enriched my life in so many ways, says Alice. In the three years I ve lived at Ashby Ponds, they have been to visit many times. Three of the four grandchildren who grew up next door to us now live in the area. One grandson works in nearby Leesburg, Va., and frequently joins me for dinner on his way home from work. He has made many friends here at Ashby Ponds. Alice s neighbor Margy Smith also enjoys the benefits of having her grandchildren close by. I have seven grandchildren, ages 12 to 22, she says. We gather often for family birthdays and get-togethers, often in my apartment, enjoying family stories and time together. I particularly enjoy having each one over individually for a special visit. They love having the opportunity to spend the night. Nancy and Grant take full advantage of their grandchildren s proximity to attend their softball and lacrosse games as well as music recitals. We also enjoy spending time doing the simple things, says Nancy. When our grandchildren visit, we walk to the garden, swim in the pool, or run errands around the buildings. We always have a good time.

Move for love

David and Anne Johnson moved to Ashby Ponds from Richmond to be closer to four of their six grandchildren. It was important to us that we move closer to be better able to attend family activities, says Anne. In addition to visits from our grandchildren in the area, our granddaughter in Texas comes to Ashby Ponds to visit for two weeks every summer. They are never lacking for something to do, says David. When they visit, they enjoy the swimming pool, putting green, pool table, jigsaw puzzles, Wii room, and sleepovers in our apartment. And it s always a special treat to enjoy lunch at the caf . Our ten-year-old grandson Andrew says they make the best grilled cheese sandwiches!

Family bonds

World-famous grilled cheese sandwiches, swimming pools, putting greens, and fishing tournaments all help create lifelong memories for Ashby Ponds grandparents and their grandchildren. However, to all grandparents, what really matters is not what they do but the simple fact that they are doing it together. I am so appreciative of the fact that we have the opportunity to watch our grandchildren grow and learn, says Nancy. We have never once regretted moving to be closer to our grandchildren, says David. Participating in the lives of young people, watching them face their challenges and delight in their victories, and knowing you have played a part that s the best part of being a grandparent.