This summer, my children had an extended stay with Grandma and Grandpa, while John and I attended the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers Convention. Four children, ages 10 – 2 could have felt lonely or insecure without mom and dad for five whole days, but as luck would have it, my parents were able to take the kids to a friend’s beach house for a few days. This happy diversion kept everyone’s mind busy and distracted.

Now it takes a couple hours to drive to this beach house. Before the days of DVD players, my mother had us sing in the car to pass the time and avoid sibling battles.   So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my seven-year-old greeted me with a high-energy version of By the Sea. This is what we used to sing when driving “down the shore”.

Most of our family songs were passed down from my maternal Grandfather who learned hymns and folk songs in his local 4-H club, the social center of his Vermont farm childhood. Add the barbershop songs from his quartet days, plus some of my father’s favorite country songs, and there is our family repertoire! We’ve passed on some of these to our children, but have created some new ones as well.

I sometimes wish I made more of a point to share more of these special songs like Five Foot Two, By the Light of the Silvery Moon and K-K-K-Katy with my young ones, but I love the fact that they are learning more of our family songs from their grandparents, just like I did.

If you were lucky enough to have grandparents in your life, teaching you to sing, cook, pray, or play pinochle, thank God tonight.  If you are able to pass this gift of grandparents on to your children, thank God some more.  I will.

Copyright 2011 Kate Daneluk