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Pets, Grands, and Grandpets

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 03/15/2020

The Power of Story, Part 3 show art The Power of Story, Part 3

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Emily wraps up the third episode on "the power of stories" with a chat with an executive from Scholastic, Inc.--the source of all those books sold to grade-school students from newsletters and book fairs. Their conversation took place just before World Read-Aloud Day, which framed their talk about grandparents reading aloud to their grands. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's Essay): The Genetics of Reading   When I visited the home of my maternal grandparents, I don’t remember seeing a book in any room of the house. It was a stark contrast to our own house with books in each room and a...

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The Power of Story, Part 2 show art The Power of Story, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing the theme from last episode, Emily speaks with a 93-year-old grandfather, author, and active advocate of capturing and then "unleashing" grandparent stories. His creative partner in their website adds helpful details about a program that helps grands become powerful and prolific story-makers. SHOW NOTES Jerry and Deanna's website is grandparentsunleashed.com, and  Jerry's book is The Grandest Love, available .

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The Power of Story, Part 1 show art The Power of Story, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

How well do your grands know your story? Emily travels (virtually) to Trinidad to speak with Felicia Chang, a professional in the area of capturing the personal stories of our families, with a special emphasis our elders. Your story has worth and power...and is of priceless value to your grands. EPISODE NOTES Felicia Chang's TEDx Talk about how the stories of our loved ones connect us all is . Her business has a and a . This is Felicia with her dear grandmother, the subject of her movie and the inspiration of her view on capturing stories.

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing last episode's theme, this time Emily talks with a grandparent in the US and a parent in France whose extended relationships span oceans, languages, and cultures. Adventure seasoned with selflessness is the recipe. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay)   “We’re moving to Brussels.” Those words shocked me even though I was twenty-one, living in my own apartment and working on my graduate degree. My parents called from NH to inform me that my dad had taken a job in Belgium. “Where is that?” was my immediate reply. (I was in grad school for English Lit, and obviously...

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Back in Season 2, we did an episode on Long-Distance Grandparenting which proved to be a popular subject. When the distances are really long--international--you'd think it would be harder. The pandemic has made distance less of a factor that it once was, so experienced global grandparents can teach lessons almost all of us can apply. EPISODE SHOW NOTES Learn more about Emily's guest, author Helen Ellis, at https://www.distancefamilies.com. Her book will be out in April, 2021. 

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Grandparent Educators, Part 2 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Some grandparents have the time, talent, and access to become directly involved with their grands' education. Emily talks with two grandparents and a teacher who have done or seen this firsthand, which may give you ideas on how to approach this in your extended family. SHOW NOTE Learn more about Emily's third guest, Sandra Williams, from her and her book, .  

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Grandparent Educators, Part 1 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Grandparents can play a range of roles in their grands' education. In Part 1 on this topic, Emily talks with a retired teacher whose journey through racial segregation in the 1950s shaped her commitment to supporting the schooling of her descendants. Emily's essay is a revealing self-portrait of a third grader, a pen pal, and a missed opportunity Emily's guest Kaaren Rodman provides details on her family's scholarship: "Our family has set up a scholarship that is awarded through the Indianapolis Urban League. Mike and I did smaller grants for several years in the 90's, one for each set of...

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Grandparent Love, Part 2 show art Grandparent Love, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

The centerpiece of this episode is Emily's interview with best-selling author Barbara Graham, who has written about the collected experiences of gifted and famous grandmothers. There are lessons to be learned from her work... and from Emily's essay about loving our grands well with the time we find. Learn more about Emily's guest and her work at .    The Stretch It Takes: Competing With Time (Emily's Essay)   If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that time looks and feels different to different people, depending on their age and their...

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Grandparent Love, Part 1 show art Grandparent Love, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

To begin Season 4, Emily talks with two members of her network on how to put our love for our grands into action--with purpose, and intentionality, and clever ideas.  The payoff is a richer relationship, even when it's largely a long-distance one. To learn more about our two guests visit and .         

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Spotlight on Emily show art Spotlight on Emily

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

While we take a break between seasons of The Grand Life Podcast, we're inviting host Emily Morgan to the guest's chair for a change. With husband and producer Mike, she covers choosing content, finding guests, and balancing the living of The Grand Life with her podcasting about it.

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More Episodes

Grandkids and grandpets--what could go wrong? It seems to depend on humanity. Some animals get treated like people. Some people don't like animals. Other people prioritize their animals over their relatives. There can be many kinds of conflict, and most are avoidable through just a few guiding principles. Emily talks with a grandmother who loves animals, a mom whose pet is not so cool about the grandpets who visit, and an animal behaviorist with observations and advice. In The Stretch It Takes, Emily confesses an important truth about the animals in her life.

NOTES ON GUESTS

Animal Behaviorist Melissa Bannister has an animal training practice, Custom Intelligence Training.

Colleen Rife's website full of good ideas for good grandmas is goodgrandma.com.

THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay): Love Me, Love My Pet?

  I’m not particularly fond of dogs or cats. But I did love a dog and a cat. Tao was the first family cat I can really remember. Tao, a siamese cat, was a rescue cat who was described by the humane society  as “having issues with men.”   He didn’t however, have any trouble with a family of three young girls. He bonded immediately with my older sister who was six years my senior. But when my sister left for college, Tao finally became mine. He would lie on my chest every night before I fell asleep. I would talk to him as I stroked the top of his head.  I told him everything...boyfriend drama, science project woes, friendship struggles. Everything. And he would listen and purr and squint and then fall asleep on my bed with me. I loved him beyond imagining. What made it even sweeter was that he was kind of a one-person cat. And for all the rest of his years, I was his person. 

  Our family had other pets...all dogs, mostly pugs, but Tao was my first love. My pet love. My most unconditional love. 

  As adults, my husband and I have had several pets -  dogs, cats, a guinea pig, a cockatiel, and even a goose -  but there was only one who snatched my heart like a bone and wouldn’t let go. I think it was because our dog Raster came into my life at a time when our four children were becoming independent. They didn’t really need me in the same way anymore. But actually, the more I think about it, it was more a love at first sight kind of thing.

  I made the mistake of walking into a pet store and locking eyes on the most beautiful Shiba Inu I had ever seen. He stared right into me and I could not forget him. It was Feb. 13th, and we walked out of the store without him...but my husband went back and got him for me. It was a true act of love and the best Valentine’s Day gift I ever received. I know..it’s not good to buy pets at those kinds of places, and I never intended to, but he was so irresistible to me. 

  Unfortunately, the stories we heard about buying a puppy mill dog were confirmed. Not too long after he joined our family, he developed seizures, and then terrible allergies that left him itching and bleeding. The combination of meds for both conditions over the next 6 years of this life created side-effects that made it clear he was more miserable with the treatments than with the disease. We hunted down his breeder and learned his father had died early of a seizure and that his condition seemed hereditary. He was ours for several years -  until he wasn’t. I couldn’t even go to the vets the day he left us. I was heartbroken. 

  Raster shows up in my dreams often. Everytime I see a Shiba Inu, I wince. He was more than a companion, he was in many ways my furbaby, and so when I’m with people who treat their animals like a person, I get it. Pets can burrow into your heart and stay there - forever. 

  Some people may experience what I did with all their animals. Some might  - like me - have strong feelings that are  limited to a few special ones. And then there may be those who just don’t bond with any furry creatures. While it’s nice to have pets and enjoy them in our homes and out and about, we cannot assume that everyone does. The attitude of Love Me, Love My Pet is presumptuous. Some people are very allergic, some people find animals frightening, or they just don’t like having a dog jump up on them and lick their face or a cat purring and leaning their bottoms into their laps. A person who has a pet who runs the house and everyone in it, might not be the kind of pet a visitor would appreciate. 

  So if you happen to be the mom or dad of a pet that you treat like a child, be sure you’re aware of the consequences if your pet is out of control - in your home or on the sidewalk. I’ve known parents to forbid a child to play at the  houses of children who don’t have boundaries. (Children who carry food all around the house, who push and punch their children, who walk on the tops of tables and countertops and who stomp through a garden). Same thing with misbehaving pets.  Pet crazy and child crazy...in my opinion, it’s all the same crazy. 

  I can’t be the only one who knows of grandparents who make a pet more important than their grands -  who will choose a dog over a daughter, and who will not let a pet out of their sight...even if it means missing an important event like a graduation or a birthday. It’s a cautionary tale...because if one chooses that path, the consequence might just be that eventually, that grandparent who makes those choices might  be walking down a sidewalk with no one else but their beloved pet. And they’ll wonder why they feel lonely, and there’s no one else walking with them. So choose wisely when it comes to your pets. To put it in perspective, a pet  will last a decade or more, but your relationships with people - nurtured - will last a lifetime. 

© 2019 Emily Morgan