Nicky Horstmann

Tropic columnist

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A different kind of school holiday break for grandparents


School Holidays! Argh!! Time to put all the entertainment and activity planning for the brats into effect?

Not this break, not even the next.

The usual together moments and opportunities during school holidays simply cease to exist for many grandparents in our COVID-19 world.



Speaking as one of those grandparents, these holidays will certainly be different.

'Gruffa' (as the grandkids call their grandfather) and I won’t be plagued by the never-ending chorus of “What can I do now? What can I do, what can I do, what can I do?”

We will be able to read, rest, and nap when it suits us and, most importantly, there will always be toilet paper on the dispenser.

That plethora of potential bug containers that I have been hoarding can move on seamlessly into the recycling.

The felt pens will continue their hibernation and the printer paper will stay neatly stacked in the cupboard.

So, our school holiday reality will be living in an a relatively organised household without the stimulation of trips to the cinema to catch the latest must-see blockbusters (G or PG rated only, of course).

There’ll be no sleep-overs and consequently no extra body hogging all the space in our bed followed by that same body waking you up as the sun rises to “go outside to look at the birds”.

No secret early-morning feasts of dried mango washed down with hot honey and lemon drinks. Wow, life these holidays will be simple.

The trouble with this simple life is that, mostly, grandparents want to continue to serve their families in any way that they can.

I mean, that’s what family is about, isn’t it? No individual family member is free of that responsibility, no one should have a free ride. A strong sense of family breeds confidence and that very important sense of belonging, both vital attributes in the development of resilience in our young ones.

So, my challenge is to find other ways that I can contribute to my family.

It might be as simple as baking and delivering fresh hot-cross buns for breakfast next Friday.

It might be sharing photos that hold special memories. It could just be ‘being there’ and really listening to those still out there in the big, bad world.

I haven’t found all the answers yet. I don’t suppose that I ever will.

However, I know this – without the Brats around to share the baking, Gruffa and I are in serious danger of turning into beachballs!