JUNE 2020: Friendship Has No Age

Connecting Across Decades

Last week we drove our daughter, Francesca, a recent 2020 Covid Couch graduate, to her six-month apprenticeship as a baker’s assistant on a farm in Lynchburg, Virginia. We stopped in Asheville, the site of her alma mater. She had arranged a get-together with two couples (retired professors) that she befriended during her 4 years at Warren Wilson College. Francesca was Victoria and Ian’s dog/house sitter when they were out of town and Tom and Gail’s babysitter for Gail’s mother with dementia.

They arranged a self-distancing post-graduation party for Francesca. It was amazing to see how excited they all were to see her and how interested they were to find out how her quarantine went, graduation and her future plans. She asked them all kinds of questions about their gardens, safety, and future of the college. I sat back relishing the moment as I watched our daughter (three of her grandparents have passed and the fourth has dementia) truly engaged in meaningful conversation. These were real friendships that she had created. As they exchanged books, beer, and documentary suggestions I understood the importance of these 50-year age gap relationships. We all left with full hearts.

I recently had the privilege to interview Dr. Paul A Looney, for a TV program called the Boomer Connection (more on this next month!). He is a nationally recognized psychiatrist and author who practices in the Woodlands, Texas. He feels that “Connecting grandchildren and grandparents adds to the happiness of both. Intergenerational interactions help young brains mature and gain wisdom, while helping old brains stay young and resilient.”

I was extremely close to my Grandma Jo and my own children spent a lot of time with my father. I often ask myself during pensive times “What would Grandma Jo do in this situation?” We recently held a “Grumpy” (my father) trivia contest during our weekly Covid-19 zoom call with all his grandchildren. Not only did they remember so many facts about him, but they were able to quote lines from his book of life and really understood the lessons that he spent so much time trying to teach them. These relationships are invaluable as we navigate our journeys.

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