I grew up in a large Greek family, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, so as a child it was constant chaos with little individual attention. However, my paternal grandfather, aka "Papou", who had 6 granddaughters, used to take us each out for a date once a month.
There was this ice cream store that overlooked the intracoastal in Florida, and he would take me there, just him and I, and let me order whatever I wanted. Triple scoop with caramel in a waffle cone, what a treat! And then he would ask me about my life, my friends, what made me angry, what I was afraid of, just basically ask me questions, so that the whole date was focused on me and just me alone without the noise of the rest of the family. It was like I was the center of his universe right then. It was his way of getting to know me, and had the added benefit of creating a level of intimacy with him that I didn't have with my other relatives because I felt like he genuinely cared.
I didn't realize how formative those little dates were until I had children of my own, and now I make a practice of taking each child out individually for a date. It's amazing how well they remember those dates, and how their little personalities change when they aren't competing for attention. They relax into the moment and I get glimpses into who they really are. I will always be grateful that my grandfather taught me the power of 1:1 relationships across generations.
As told to us by Nicole Glaros
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