Life begins at Halcyon

Life begins at 50

Life's grand with Nan and Pop

23 November 2018 | by Halcyon

"What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humour, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies." – Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City

As modern family life becomes more hectic and demanding, grandparents are playing a bigger and more central role in the lives of their grandchildren. Halcyon recently paid tribute to this precious and irreplaceable relationship during National Grandparents Day celebrations across its communities. We spoke to three Halcyon couples about their grandkids.

Whether it’s finding a Harry Potter costume for Book Week, whipping up a birthday cake or emergency babysitting, Russell and Judy Linwood are always there for their six grandchildren.

With two living at Coomera and the others just 60 minutes away in north Brisbane, the Linwoods are a big part of their grandkids’ lives; be it sleepovers, go-karting adventures, movies, pickleball or fishing.

“We’re very devoted to them and we have always been hands-on,” Judy said.

“Our eldest granddaughter, Kate, has been coming to us on a Saturday since she was six weeks old.

“Family first has always been my motto; they are my priority.” 

The former schoolteacher said their role as grandparents was one of love and enrichment.

“We have more financial capacity now than when we were raising our own children, so we can do nicer things for them all,” she said.

“If we see one of them with a talent for something like art or mathematics, we foster it.”

Russell, an ex-military serviceman and former ambulance service executive, said he enjoyed getting his grandchildren away from the clutches of digital devices.

“Most children these days don’t do anywhere near enough practical and physical things,” he said.

“I teach them as many of the practical skills that are fast going down the gurgler in the 21st Century; good manners, courtesy, direction, basic orienteering, and taking them yabbying.

“The great majority of parents now have to, or choose to, work full-time and this is what makes raising children fundamentally more difficult for them.  So, this is where grandparents become so valuable.”

Coming from an era when grandparents were geographically and emotionally distant, Russell and Judy are relishing their bond with their grandkids.

“These kids know no other model other than the fact that Nana and Pop are always there for them,”
Russell said.

“They know us very well and we’re having a fantastic journey along the way with some hilarious and loving moments.”

Speaking of journeys, Halcyon Glades home owner Dawn and Graham Dukes have certainly gone the extra mile for their five grandchildren over the past 11 years.

For 12 months, Dawn clocked up thousands of kilometres driving regularly from Brisbane to the outback Queensland town of Mitchell to care for her newborn grandson, Brayden.

Dawn didn’t think twice about making the 1,200km roundtrip that took seven hours each way.

“They didn’t have any day care up there and my daughter was the schoolteacher, so if she didn’t have someone to look after him she would have had to give up work,” she said.

“It was fun, it was no problem and it was my choice.”

Ten years on, Brayden and the family now live in Kingaroy where Dawn still provides childcare when needed and Graham heads up every other weekend

The couple also visited Cairns recently to watch their Brisbane-based granddaughter, Isla, 11, compete in the 2018 Australian Irish Dancing Championships.

“We try to do as much as we possibly can with the grandchildren and we’re fairly close to them,” Graham said.

“They’re one of the things that give you purpose in life. It’s that satisfaction you get because they like to see you.”

On the Sunshine Coast, Halcyon Lakeside home owners Noel and Coby Hocking count down to the school holidays when their grandchildren Rhys, 10, and Carys, 8, come up from Brisbane to stay for a week and a half.

The kids also come up for weekend sleepovers.

“They’re in to everything, they’ll often bring their bikes up and we’ll go cycling around the lakes and over to the playground,” Noel said.

“We enjoy fishing, the games room, going to the library to play chess, watching movies in the cinema and paddling around in the pool.

“Their preference is to go down to the swimming pool at night time and swim with the lights on; they think it’s marvellous.

“They really enjoy our company and we enjoy theirs just as much.”

Coby said they had always been very involved with the grandkids. 

“They enjoy coming up here to the ‘resort’ for the holidays, they think it’s pretty sweet,” she said.

“It’s lovely having them here and being part of their lives on a regular basis.

“And their mum and dad really appreciate our support.”

Noel said their role was to give their grandchildren stability, precious one-on-one time and a fun-filled break from their busy routines.

“They have our full attention the whole time, and we hope we’re able to pass on some of our knowledge and values,” he said.

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