Why I wrote this book
“It feels silly.”
“Does it? It feels wonderful to me,” says Gramps. “I haven’t had as much fun in ages, and even if it is silly, and I’m not saying it is, what’s wrong with a little bit of silliness now and again?”
Lockdown at the beginning of 2021 was challenging. The original lockdown, during the long, hot summer of 2020, had taken everybody by surprise and we all had to adjust to the unprecedented situation; but at the same time there was an air of novelty and excitement and a feeling of a nation pulling together, mixed in with the fear of catching the virus. It gave many people, including myself, time to explore areas of our neighbourhoods that we had not seen before, on our daily walk. Those people lucky enough to have some outside space could spend time in the garden, enjoying the good weather.
2021 was different. Christmas had been cancelled and we were weary of the imposed restrictions. It was winter and after the novelty of completing countless jigsaw puzzles wore off, I decided that I needed to find a more creative way to relieve my boredom. It dawned on me that there might never be another opportunity quite like this to write the book which we are all supposed to have inside us.
Where to start? I had nothing in mind. I decided I should write about something that I know well, which narrowed it down. Families; I know about families, both professionally and personally. That was the seed. What next? I wanted to concentrate on one particular relationship, and being a grandparent myself, that seemed the ideal starting point; child and grandparent, new and old, different experiences and viewpoints, learning from each other.
But what would they teach each other? I asked a few friends, all grandparents, what were the life lessons they would like to impart to their grandchildren, and I asked some young people about their hopes and aspirations for the future. The responses were interesting and varied and many of the themes overlapped – some things appear to be universally important. Caz and Gramps are amalgamations of all the people who so generously helped me out.
I like to think that this book shows people as they really are. Nobody in it is perfect and everybody makes mistakes. However, it is a heart-warming book about hope and the potential for change, about trying to understand why people behave as they do and most of all about the importance of taking the time to listen to each other. When families pull together, small changes can lead to much bigger ones.