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Living with ALS: Rising to the challenge, when the children become “grand”

Written By | Feb 4, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC, February 4, 2018 – For some reason my thoughts turned to family this week, especially my grandchildren. I am not certain what the trigger was, but I concluded that, for me at least, they are the glue who keeps my world together.

When we are younger so much time is spent trying to establish some element of security for your family that they are the ones who often get shuffled aside in the process.

Grandchildren are different.

While they are always there, in most cases they are not permanent residents and the advantages of being older with more time to share with them establish a bond that is not the quite the same as it was with your own kids.

It’s not so much a matter of spoiling them, which is only, natural anyway, but it is something far more unique.

There’s simply more time to observe and watch them grow. Whoever they become is, in a sense, an offshoot of the way you raised your own children because they were directly influenced by you in how they have now become parents.

The truly fun part is observing each individual personality, wondering who they will eventually become and what they will accomplish.

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Living through the eyes of future generations

My oldest grandson has just been accepted to college. It seems not so very long ago that I was preparing for the same adventure.

Time has a way of fleeting through the years once that interminable seemingly endless wait for Santa to arrive two days before Christmas when you are five years old. Or the snail-like pace of the calendar after everyone else has their driver’s license and you are still only 15.

At 6-feet 3, my grandson is now taller than his father. He is an Eagle Scout, an accomplished swimmer, plays the cello and has traveled throughout the United States and to Europe on a couple of occasions.

No, he’s not a straight A student, but considering his accomplishments give me a well-rounded intelligent person who is self-reliant and can think for himself over a Harvard candidate any day of the week.

Confession of youth

His sister, on the other hand, is creative way beyond her years. I am still looking for that box outside of which she is thinking. She is happy and carefree. Some might even think she is a little spacey at times, but she is her own person who lives in a world filled with rainbows.

When she was only four, we were having our traditional Friday night dinner with the grandchildren so their parents could go on a “date.” The youngest decided she needed to go to the restroom and my grandson figured he would too.

My wife took the oldest and the youngest to the facilities leaving the 4-year old with me. As they disappeared around the corner, my four-year-old granddaughter propped her elbows on the table, looked at me and said matter of factly, “Well, I guess it’s just you and me, Bob!”

Soccer vs. Little League

On another occasion, before my grandson decided he preferred soccer to Little League, I asked my off-the-wall granddaughter if she liked baseball, to which she replied, “Yeah, ’cause the first thing I do when I get there is go to the ‘confession’ stand.”

Yes, you read that correctly.

Later when I asked her if she knew what was going on out on the field she replied, “Sure. You see that brown part? The guy hits the ball and runs around on the dirt until he goes all the way around. Then when he gets back, he goes to the cabin!” referring, of course, to the dugout.

The Youngest Daughter

Finally, the youngest of my daughter’s teenagers is feisty. She loves competition and sports and will not back down from a challenge. Part of that is being third in line, but it has also instilled in her a self-confidence that goes far beyond her siblings.

If a mouse ran through the house, my space-cadet granddaughter would immediately pack her clothes and move to another state.

Number three would say, “That’s it. I’ve had enough” and set a trap or immediately go out and bring back a cat.


Slightly over a decade later my son made his contribution to the clan with a boy. Now four years old, his first word wasn’t “Dada” or “Mama”, choosing instead to say, “truck.”

If my little cherub-faced grandson with his round Charlie Brown head doesn’t build the next Empire State Building, it won’t be because he didn’t try. He is by far the happiest child I have ever been around, and he sports a vocabulary that is far beyond his years.

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He knows the name of virtually every brand of construction vehicle and automobile. If you happen to misidentify one of them in his presence be prepared to be corrected.

His sister, on the other hand, is two and nearly the same size she was when she was born. No one is more independent than she, however. She lives in her own little world, and though she understands everything you say and can speak quite well, she usually stays to herself, content to contemplate the world around her.

Much of that is due also to the fact that her brother talks all the time.

Though my ALS has robbed me of many abilities to hold them, hug them and physically participate in many things with my grandchildren, I have come to realize that they, indeed, are the glue that keeps us together.

Grandchildren are wonderful blessings.

They keep us young because they live in a young world and it is a joy to watch them grow and discover.

Your own children are great, but there’s a reason why your children’s children are justifiably called “Grand.”

About the Author:

Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Read more of Bob’s journeys with ALS and his travels around the world

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.