About a fortnight ago I was invited to an 80th birthday party. You might expect this to be a place for zimmers, or at least walking sticks, but there were none in sight or in use. The hostess keeps herself fit and takes a keen interest in all the members of her extended family and this was apparent in the warmth and congeniality. She has four children and they are all married to their original partners. Considering the history of the royal family this is a record in itself, but it also adds to the harmony. Each of the four couples have three children, which adds another dozen young people to the number. All but two of them were present. The two absentees had not forgotten their well-loved granny and telephoned with their birthday greetings from South America and Australia where they are presently working. Several of the other grandchildren had brought their own partners so far from being a party of senior citizens it was youthful gathering and a very happy occasion with plenty of laughter and teasing and an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie.
The moral of this wee story is that it adds more dimensions to life if we take an interest in the younger generations. In return many of them respect and love their elders and give their care and support when they can. This should not be expected but it is something to be treasured when it is freely given. One of my own relatives had very little interest in her three grandchildren, who were all making their way in life, and she had good reason to be proud of them. Instead she often moaned about being bored or lonely. Her circle grew smaller and her conversation became more and more limited so even her own generation were less inclined to visit.
When I write my family sagas I try to include different generations, obviously with some romance and love and a few problems to overcome – otherwise there would be no story to tell, but I I strive for the feeling of overall warmth and sometimes I even give the baddies a redeeming feature.