Not only the children are looking forward to the upcoming spring break. Some grandparents love this time of year when they are looking after their grandchildren. On the programme: activities, outdoors, but above all intensive cuddles.
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“COVID-19 has stolen several breaks in a row, but not this year. I take my revenge! »
Gustave Saint-Germain is a widower, retired and very active. During the break he takes his three grandchildren aged 10, 8 and 6 with him. “I’m in good shape and I want to take advantage of her presence,” says the resident of Sainte-Adèle. It gives me energy! »
Ice fishing, ice skating, slides, cross country skiing and downhill skiing, Mr. Saint-Germain has it all. He even prepared his menu. “I want to please them and spend as little time as possible on trivial tasks,” says the dapper man in his sixties, who will take care of his grandchildren from Monday to Thursday. I would also like to release my daughter and son who have to work this week. In the evenings, they can spend quality time with their spouse and partner. In the end it’s a win for everyone! »
Mr Saint-Germain’s daughter, Inès Corriveau, confirms: “It helps us a lot, she says. And then it makes me happy to see him so enthusiastic, so determined. It’s good for him, it keeps him busy, it bores him, it keeps him in shape. »
And tiredness, lack of energy, does he know that? Of course he laughs. “I go to bed at the same time as her. And when they leave, I’m happy to find some rest… see you next time! »
continuation of a tradition
Ginette Martel, 63, spends her days with her 7-year-old grandson during spring break. The Montreal native even has a little getaway planned.
“I rented a car and we’re going to Gatineau for three days to visit my sister,” she says cheerfully. We go snowshoeing and visit museums like the Musée de la Civilization. »
For Ms. Martel it is also a way of giving back and continuing a tradition: as a child, her grandmother took care of her during the school holidays and a few weeks in the summer, and her mother did the same with his two daughters. “I experienced that and always said to myself: ‘If I’m a grandma myself, I’ll do it,'” she says. I have maybe 20 good years ahead of me… I don’t want to miss anything. At the moment I’m giving everything I can! »
Stroll in the botanical garden, craft classes, walk in the public markets, visit to the Grande Bibliothèque and museums, Ginette Martel directs the activities during the spring break. She does everything on foot and by public transport since “the subway takes you [son] grandson becomes an adventure in itself”.
Aware of her privilege, which comes with an iron health and a good pension, among other things, Ms. Martel thinks of the grandparents who would like to do more but cannot. “I measure my happiness,” she says.
In Brossard, at the Huynhs, we also take advantage of the spring break to do all kinds of activities, focusing on the free ones. “There is a great supply in our town and in all the surrounding communities,” says Kim Huynh, grandmother of three girls aged 11, 9 and 7. In libraries, arenas, public swimming pools, outdoor ice rinks, everything is organized especially for spring break. »
In the week leading up to the holidays, Ms Huynh and her partner plan to check in with their granddaughters and see what they would like to visit. One keyword: enjoyment. “There is no obligation, stresses Ms. Huynh, her school life is organized well enough as it is! We just want to spend time together, without stress and constraints. »
The couple, in their 60’s, like to plan some special activities at home: a treasure hunt, an afternoon at the cinema with hot chocolate, a morning of making pancakes and desserts. “We get to know them a lot through all the things we do together,” says Ms. Huynh. Sometimes we allow them to invite a friend, which also allows us to discover their school friends. »
The big advantage, in your opinion? “It keeps us young and aware of what’s going on! ‘ she says laughing.
Free as the air
Norma Hélie, 74, remembers with emotion the weeks off she brought her two grandchildren home to Saguenay. “They took the bus from Montreal, she said, we picked them up in Quebec City and did all sorts of activities like sliding, solving puzzles, watching movies with popcorn, playing board games, baking cakes. »
But above all, she says, the timetable is shifted, freer, less restrictive than everyday school life … and parental! “We didn’t always have plans or trips, they slipped, they were free, they got up when they wanted. I used this week to pamper her and to be available for her. »
Ms. Hélie points out that her two grandchildren, who are now young adults, have remained very close to her. “I think those moments that we shared with them brought us closer. It is great wealth! I realize that not all grandparents have this relationship: I consider myself very lucky…”
Ms. Hélie’s daughter, Chantal Lapointe, is also delighted with the very strong bond that unites her mother and her two children. “They call her regularly, text her and visit her of their own accord,” she says with a touch of pride in her voice.