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Susan Williamson – Grandparenting With Books and Horses

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Susan Williamson

A week with the granddaughters is a special time. We have been keeping them while their parents go to work. So far we were able to watch their swimming lessons, help them ride a horse, and visit the local library. A year ago last Christmas we gave the family a month’s membership and sign-up at the local YMCA along with swimming lessons for the oldest. Both of the girls are now as comfortable as mermaids, swimming underwater and above.

We planned our trip to the library to return books and choose new ones, but we lucked into a wonderful summer reading program performance by a juggler and mime who acted out stories and engaged children from preschool to middle school. While our granddaughters love television shows, movies and videos and are comfortable on an IPAD, they also love books. Each child has a well-supplied bookshelf in her room and reading is a nightly activity. The enthusiasm and attendance at the library function gives me hope for the coming generations both as a grandparent and an author.

As I write, they are playing in the background, the youngest making up a story beginning with, “Once upon a time.”

As horse people, my husband and I want our granddaughters to ride and enjoy horses as much as their mother does. But a job, a household, church and friends make it difficult to schedule riding time for our daughter, let alone time for each of the girls to ride. Yesterday, we saddled up “Di”, aka Frostpoint, a 22 year old five-gaited American Saddlebred mare who lives in their backyard.  We curried and brushed and Di enjoyed the attention. The older girl rode first and remembered how to post from her last summer’s horse camp experience. She could ride the cooperative mare by herself, outfitted in her riding pants, boots, helmet, camp tee-shirt and all important riding gloves. During horse camp she put on the gloves when we left the house. Although our daughter had laid out riding pants for the younger girl, she opted for pink leggings with purple and pink polka dot socks—always the free spirit. Cowboy boots and a bicycle helmet finished the ensemble. The four year old was able to steer and stop the mare as one of us walked beside her.

Tonight they have been invited to a birthday party at Chucky Cheese. We will leave that experience to our daughter. That’s the nice thing about being a grandparent.

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