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Friday, June 6, 2014

Grandma's House Is The Place To Be

Pay a visit to Clan Grant in northern New England some day and this is what you'll find: a cluster of cars parked throughout the yard, a large front porch dotted with people in conversations ranging from Star Wars to some distant relative's kidney failure, little kids decorating the driveway with sidewalk chalk, a ball game on the TV in the living room, and food... lots and lots of food.

Grandma's house, 1996
The Grant family gathered around grandma and grandpa's house, 1996.

This is a typical Sunday at Grandma's house, a large farmhouse, with some Victorian vibes (or a Victorian house with farmhouse vibes... whatever), in the middle of town on a quiet street. Grandma's house has always been the hub of activity for the Grants, a "watering hole" of sorts, where there's always free food, Internet, and a game of cards going on.

I learned to jump my bike off a ramp in Grandma's driveway back before it was paved. My cousins and I tore paths through the lilac bushes and surrounding banks playing GI Joe. I was raised just as much there as I was at home.

And today nothing has changed. Well, I'm no longer jumping my bike off ramps in the driveway, but Grandma's house is still like Mission Control for our family. Except today it's my cousin's children and my little nephews who tear up the landscape with games of tag and hopscotch and water guns and... whatever else kids are into these days.

For the members of Clan Grant, this is the quintessential American dream. We wouldn't do life any other way. We're a tight family. We love being together, especially if there are burgers and dogs on the barbecue and soda in the fridge—and yes, up here in New England, it's soda. Not pop.

This is part of the reason Danielle and I want to be closer to family. We were both raised in very similar New England families where mom and dad taught their kids proper manners and grandma's house was always a place full of generous helpings of love and cookies.

Danielle can recall a time when she was a kid and her mother wasn't home when she got a hair brush knotted up in her hair. Being only about a mile from her Nana's house she hopped on her bike and peddled down the road, tangled brush bouncing around on her head—which today would probably be considered fashionable—where grandma helped her get the hair brush free.

Both of us can recall countless other times where we would walk or ride bikes to grandma and grandpa's house for help, sweet treats, cable TV, and a little extra attention. In fact, when I think about the reasons we go to our grandparents' houses today I think to myself, "Nothing's changed!"

As a big picture thinker, I look at my family and see the ripple effects throughout the generations. Good family breeds good people. Good people make good leaders. And good leaders guide our country. The decline of America today isn't solely the fault of corrupt politicians, it's largely the fault of a broken family system rife with ever-increasing divorce rates and parents who've lost sight of a Godly vision for their families.

I know I'm not going to raise perfect kids, but by God I sure am going to try. There's an old saying that goes: "It takes a village to raise a child." Though there is some truth in that saying, there aren't many villages in today's world that I would want assisting me in raising my kids.

But I do I want as many Grants, Belyeas, and Elliots as I can find!

Keep pinchin' :-)


  1. My nine year old daughter just returned from two days at her grandparent's house. She hasn't been away from me up until this point except to go to school, so this was huge for her to ask to spend-the-night at her grandparents AND have so much fun that she only had time for a quick two minute phone conversation the entire time she was there. I missed her dearly, but I know she had the time of her life as was evident by the huge smile on her face upon her return today. Thank you for sharing your family with us and allowing me to share a little of mine. I'm glad my children are both close to their grandparents - my parents have done an amazing job of raising their two children and are now doing an even more amazing job of spoiling the grandchildren! :)