85: The Grandma Video

85: The Grandma Video

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

The Grandma Video

From the day of my first grandchild’s birth, my daughter thoughtfully has sent frequent pictures and videos of him. Even though we live over three hundred miles apart we have always felt we are an active part of his life. As Matthew’s second birthday approached, we knew we could not be with him to celebrate it, so we made a short video wishing him a happy birthday. We ended it by setting the camera on a tripod so my husband and I could sing (a bit off-key) a happy birthday duet to him. Even at two, Matthew seemed to understand the video and watched it over and over again.

It doesn’t take much to encourage me, so when my daughter reported back the success of the video, I began to do videos periodically whenever we saw or did something that we would have shared with Matthew had he lived closer. It was an interesting turn of events from them sending us videos of Matthew!

Our videos are short, often with just a single subject. We have one of a pasture, not far from our house, filled with cows. We are showing the cows to Matthew and talking about them. We ask him questions, which his mother reports he eagerly answers from his seat on the couch as he watches the video. “Look at that one chewing his food. Isn’t he silly?” I ask. Matthew nods and laughs as Grandpa zooms in for a close-up of the cow’s face. Just then the cow unexpectedly moos, and it is perfect.

Then I tell Matthew when he visits we can go to see the cows together. It’s a good way to keep from being strangers and is also a learning experience as we show him things that might not be readily available in his area.

When the almond trees in our yard bloom, we take a short video of the trees with a close-up of the flowers, explaining that they will turn into almonds and assure him we will send him some to taste when that happens in the months ahead.

For Christmas, we toured our house as Grandpa pointed out the items his mother had made as a child and I showed him my special nativity collection. We saw the lights outside our house after dark and the crackling fire in the fireplace. Our younger daughter was home from college that weekend, and she even got into the act by showing us the cookies she was baking. Matthew especially liked that part.

We watched snowflakes drifting down around our swimming pool in a rare desert snowfall and a shepherd tending his flock of sheep a few miles from our home. Matthew has watched his grandpa hammering and sawing in the garage and Grandma washing dishes. As the camera roams around our home, Matthew sees the bed he will sleep in when he visits and the stack of special books we saved for him from his mother’s childhood. “We’ll read these books together again when you visit our house, okay?” I ask. I’m told that Matthew smiles and says, “Yes,” every single time he sees that part.

The videos are obviously unprofessional, the camera bounces around a bit and sometimes I can’t find the object I want to zoom in on. “Oops,” you can hear me say. “Where did those flowers go?” My husband and I laugh, but Matthew certainly doesn’t mind.

The “Grandma Videos” have continued for over seven years now, and four more grandchildren are viewing them. We enjoy taking the videos and sometimes wonder if we enjoy them more than the grandchildren do! It’s fun for us to look at things from a child’s perspective again, and I find we have a renewed interest in the simple little objects we often took for granted. We delight in sights we would normally drive past and barely notice. We literally stop and smell the California poppies when they bloom because we want to share them with our grandchildren on a video. The flowers take on a more intense beauty as we walk among them for the very best shot. While on vacation, instead of driving along the beach, we stop and examine the seashells and write the children’s names in the sand.

These videos only take half an hour or so from start to finish and cost a minimal amount to mail. My own children saw their grandparents only once a year, but ours can literally have their grandparents at their fingertips anytime they wish.

Oops! I gotta go. It’s time to star in another chapter of the Grandma Video!

~June Cerza Kolf
Chicken Soup for the Grandparent’s Soul

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners