“The sense of family”
Anne, 65 years old, two grandchildren aged 4 and 5 and a half.
“Mother of four children, widowed for ten years, I am today a grandmother of two small children, a 4-year-old boy with my daughter, and a 5½-year-old girl on my son’s side. I am cut off from my granddaughter because her mother refuses to let me see her just as she keeps her away from her father.
However, my granddaughter has always existed for me. When I buy a present for my grandson, I buy one for him too and keep it, hoping to give it to him someday. When I make little gingerbread characters or bookmarks, there is always one with his name. I write him a letter for Christmas and for his birthday. Maybe one day she will do some research on her grandparents.
I spend a lot of time with my grandson. Former teacher, I love making her do manual work and board games. It teaches him to accept being wrong or losing. I want to convey to him the sense of family, in the broad sense. To register it in a series of generations of which it is a link. He is not alone, he is part of a whole which gives him rights and also duties. My husband, her grandfather, sent her messages of openness and generosity.
If I ever pass something on to my grandchildren, it will be something made with my hands, for example, a dollhouse or my husband’s tie, reworked to the size of my grandson who never knew his grandfather. I would like to show them the superiority of emotional value over pecuniary value. For example, building a toy boat with your own hands costs more than a purchased model. We respect it, we take care of it, we maintain it and we put ourselves into it. “
“A message of confidence in the future”
Arrigo Lessana, 79 years old, a 16 year old grandson.
“I come from a family of Italian origin where no one spoke. I tried to piece together parts of its history. Suddenly, I wanted my grandson’s childhood to be a space for words where we talk about family history in all its aspects. The bizarre uncle, a strange succession, etc.
I wrote a book (1) with my grandson in mind to leave a mark, to pass on to him a story of a migrant grandfather and great-grandfather, travel memories, stories of courage and cowardice. Above all, I wanted to send her a message of confidence in the future, left by her mother – who was my only daughter – before dying five years ago from a long illness.
→ BOOK. A grandfather and his grandson facing mourning
The desire or the will to transmit is not my thing. I prefer to show him a lifestyle, a way of seeing things, how we react to certain difficulties. I gave him a taste of the mountains where we often went together. I later found out that he was going to be climbing into a gym with his pals. That pleased me.
The transmission passes lightly over the conversation. His mother is very present between us. It’s a moral contract that I imagine I have with my daughter. I pass something on from her to her son. His generosity, his rigor in his way of reasoning, of deciding. I gave my grandson the manuscript of my next book which speaks a lot about her ”.
“The taste of happiness”
Anne-Sixtine, 63 years old, three grandchildren from 3 months to 4 years old
“I didn’t have the chance to know my grandparents. My only role model is that of my mother with her own small children. Little by little, I am discovering grandparenting. Nothing is dictated in advance, everything has to be invented. The attachment is immense, but I take care not to be intrusive in education, not to exercise too much authority, in short to stay in my place.
I would like to pass on skills, a taste for art, family stories, experiences. When my oldest granddaughter comes home, I organize her time so that she has fun and is busy. I would like to give her a taste for happiness to reassure her worried nature, to show her the importance of being strong, of working with passion and of being independent. “