Grandparents play an important role in grandchildren’s growth and development.
Meet Mrs. Walker a grandmother who treasures every minute with her grandchildren. Our Health Matters had a wonderful visit with this mother, grandmother and advocate for seniors. We’ve had many conversations with individuals and families throughout our 18 years. I and my team of writers, designers, researchers and others look to you, our community, to share your stories, your challenges and your vision for making Kansas City a great place to live, learn, work, play and worship.
The following is our interview:
Ruth Ramsey, publisher, Our Health Matters (OHM):
Mrs. Walker tell us about yourself.
Deborah Walker: I’m 64-years-old and have been retired for four years after 30 years with a federal agency. I’m enjoying my retirement life. I tell my children I just want to have peace right now. It’s all about being calm and stress free, doing what I want to do when I want to do it. My husband, Alvin, passed away four years ago so I’ve had to make a few adjustments without him.
OHM: Tell us about your children and grandchildren.
Deborah Walker: I have three children, two boys and a girl. My daughter LaToya and my 10 year old grandson Lamar, live in another city. I have two sons living here. My youngest son, Joseph, is married and they have two boys. Joseph four and Josiah, two. I babysit their children while they work. I decided to help them with the children so they would not have the expense of daycare. I adore my grandsons. We have tons of fun. I have another son named Alvin who is single. He is a professional painter by trade and does excellent work. I have a beautiful daughter-in-law, Coleigh. She and I have a great relationship. She loves to cook. I was so thrilled. She’s a rarity today because most young people seem to prefer fast food.
OHM: Tell us about your relationship with your grandchildren.
Deborah Walker: I keep my two grandsons four days a week. On Mondays we spend all day together, we take walks. They play games on their tablets. I read to them, we watch a lot of kid-friendly videos together. They also love music and singing. I really enjoy watching them. I recommended to my son that he place the oldest, Joseph in early childhood education so he would be better prepared when he starts kindergarten. The boys like to run and play. We chase each other around the house. I enjoy hearing them laugh and saying…”you can’t catch me granny.” I tell them let’s take a break and they say, no, no, no. We walk up and down stairs in the garage and count our steps. I incorporate learning in everything we do. The youngest is even counting now. I’m not a teacher. I’m far from it, but I just point things out and keep repeating them and they learn it.
OHM: What differences do you see today compared to when you were growing up or raising your children?
Deborah Walker: I’d say parenting is definitely different. One example is an experience I had at church. I would ask the mothers if their child was going to participate in an activity and they would say, “I’ll have to ask them.” I was shocked. I said, “What do you mean you have to ask?” Before I could catch myself I told the parents you don’t have to ask them anything. You’re the adult. My daughter would tell her friends my mama told me straight up, “I’m your mom, not your friend.”
OHM: Is there any advice you’d give to other grandparents?
Deborah Walker: I’d advised them to give their grandchildren a lot of love and attention. Be present, just be there. I encourage parents to just be one of those persons who wants to be there for their child, providing whatever support they need.
OHM: That’s wonderful. I personally witnessed the love and compassion you have for your children and your grandchildren. Thank you for allowing us to share about you and your precious grandsons. Take care.